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Does Daylight Savings Time Increase Auto Accidents?

When is daylight savings time? Hope you haven’t missed it, we’ve lost an hour this past weekend on Sunday March 13 at 2:00 am in the morning.

Daylight savings time has been around for a century, turning 100 this year! However, there has been debate in recent years over the necessity of changing the clock.

Daylight savings time started in the past with the purpose to conserve energy and make better use of daylight. In terms of business, there is a belief that it increases the time frame in which people have a higher tendency to shop and make purchases – the time after work when there is still light out. The adjustment in the early morning is supposed to minimize disruptions to daily routines. However, it has been argued that daylight savings has a significant impact on sleep patterns and internal clocks. This negative impact leads to a number of health problems. There is evidence to back up higher rates of heart attacks and strokes, sleeping disorders, workplace accidents, and auto accidents.

According to researchers at UBC in this article by CBC, there is an increase of 5 to 7% in auto accident fatalities in the 3 days after the spring daylight savings time adjustment. If you are thinking these issues are isolated in the spring time switch, think again. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh also found the negative impact associated with the fall daylight savings time switch. They stated that pedestrians are 3 times as likely to be struck by vehicles in the first few weeks after the fall switch. They believe the largest contributor to these accidents is that both drivers and pedestrians have gotten used to light conditions over the previous months and do not account for the decrease in light during rush hour in the mornings.

Furthermore, it has been pointed out that there may be increased energy consumption tied to people driving around more in the sunlight after work. If this is the case, this counters the reason daylight savings exist, as governments continually sold it as an energy conservation method.

So the question is, do we need daylight savings time at all? What is your opinion? Read what others have to say here.

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