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Do More Auto Accidents Occur Once Daylight Saving Time Ends?

Daylight saving time ended on November 4, 2018. As a result, most people now leave work after sunset, and many more Denver residents are spending much more time driving in the dark. Does this mean that we can expect to see more auto accidents during the winter months?

Not necessarily.

In fact, according to some studies, while the start of daylight saving time has been linked to an increase in vehicle collisions (and other types of accidents, including falls and accidents at work), the end of daylight saving time may actually be beneficial. Business Insider calls the end of daylight saving time a “welcome reprieve” for our bodies, although it also states that, “the interrupted sleep schedules that result from shifting the clocks back and forth may be bad for our health.”

Studies Suggest Limited Impact of End of Daylight Saving Time on Auto Accidents

The limited effect of the end of daylight saving time on auto accident rates is further supported by the fatal accident data published by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). According to CDOT, the months with the most fatal auto accidents are:

  • June
  • July
  • August

By contrast, the months with the least fatal accidents are:

  • January
  • February
  • December

These conclusions are based on fatal accident crash statistics compiled from 2002 through 2018. Of course, there are undoubtedly far more factors than simply the additional hour of sleep that play into these figures. But, nonetheless, it is interesting to see that the start of daylight saving time in March (when we lose an hour of sleep) has a far more significant impact on auto accident rates than the end of daylight saving time in November (when we lose an hour of daylight in the evening).

Auto Accident Risks During the Winter Months

Even though fatal accident rates are lower in the winter months, on average, at least one Colorado resident still dies in an accident every single day. Additionally, far more are injured; and, on an annual basis, there are well over 100,000 auto accidents in Colorado. Some of the factors that are most likely to contribute to serious and fatal accidents during Colorado’s winter months include:

  • Snow, sleet and hail (which account for 60 percent of all weather-related accidents in Colorado)
  • Driver fatigue (even with the extra hour of sleep, many people still drive drowsy, and driving in darkness can make it more difficult for some people to stay awake)
  • Alcohol use (seasonal affective disorder (SAD) leads to increased alcohol use for some individuals)
  • Distracted driving (while the end of daylight saving time may not have a direct impact on auto accident rates, studies have shown that some drivers are more likely to be distracted during the holiday season)

Speak With Levine Law Today

Levine Law is a Denver personal injury law firm that represents individuals who have been seriously injured and lost loved ones in vehicle collisions and other accidents. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an accident in the Denver area, we encourage you to call 303-333-8000 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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