Study suggests daylight-savings deaths
International experts say ditching daylight savings could save lives.
US researchers say that Daylight Savings Time (DST) increases the risk of fatal car accidents for around a week each year in the USA.
The team says their evidence shows around a 6 per cent increase in fatal road accidents in the week after the time change each spring; more than 28 deaths a year.
“The acute adverse effects of DST on fatal traffic accident risk are real, and can be prevented,” says senior author Dr Céline Vetter, a circadian sleep scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“Although the observed effects are of moderate size and are not long-lasting, we must not forget that DST transition affects billions of people every year, and thus small changes in risk can have a substantial public health impact.”
The team took advantage of a large registry, the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System, that recorded 732,835 fatal car accidents across all US states observing DST from 1996 to 2017.
Their analysis revealed a six per cent uptick in risk after the clocks changed in spring.
In absolute numbers, they report, this risk increase translated to an additional 5.7 fatal accidents per day from Monday to Friday after the spring DST transition in the US.