Daylights Savings Time Causes Fatal Car Crashes to Rise, So Why Do We Still Do It?

Close-up of a car clock featuring the Chrysler logo in Walnut Creek, California, USA, October 23, 2020.
Close-up of a car clock featuring the Chrysler logo in Walnut Creek, California, USA, October 23, 2020.

Well friends, here we are after once again losing an hour of sleep to the tyranny of daylight savings time. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to end our Spring Forward-Fall Back hell. So what happened?

In case you missed it:

Politics is a strange business sometimes, even when there is the ultra rare show of solidarity from both sides of the aisle. Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in the Senate last year, and it passed unanimously through the chamber. When the bill hit the House however, it lost traction and wasn’t even brought to a vote in the 117th Congress. Rubio reintroduced the legislation on March 2.


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“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid. Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done,” Rubio said via press release.

For once, Sen. Rubio and I are in total agreement — this relic from WWI is a blight on the American public and needs to end. From a six percent rise in car crashes to over 18 percent spike in medical mistakes, rates for all sorts of accidents rise in the week after we spring forward or fall bad. Heart attacks also spike some 24 percent in the week following the hour shift, Insider reports.

Rubio’s bill would make Daylights Savings Time permanent — that is, time wouldn’t change, but Americans would experience later sunrises and sunsets for four months out of the year. While the bill has plenty of supporters, there are some detractors as well. Some say we should apply standard time without change, Time reports:

Last year, there were at least 450 bills considered across state legislatures that would make Daylight Saving Time year-round if a federal law passes.

But as there seems to be a bipartisan push to make this change permanent, some experts say that could harm Americans. Research by the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms found that there are greater advantages to making standard time permanent, as opposed to Daylight Saving Time.

Implementing a permanent switch to Daylight Saving Time would harm our bodies because it would increase the difference between the social clock and the body clock. Doing so, they say, is “associated with decreased life expectancy, shorten[ed] sleep, cause mental and cognitive problems, and contribute to the many sleep disturbances in our societies that are estimated to cost approximately 2% of the gross domestic product.”

It’s not just GDP losses Americans experience during Daylight Savings Time. The switch is a well-known menace to our ability to concentrate. Fatal car crashes and car crash injuries spike during Daylight Savings Time due mainly to an increase in drowsy driving, which causes 16 to 21 percent of all fatal crashes, according to AAA.

It’s not just car-on-car violence humans have to fear due to Daylight Savings Time. Deer strikes also go up during the switch overs. Permanent Daylight Savings Time could save the lives of 35,000 deer per year and 2,054 human injuries and 33 deaths, NPR reports, and that’s just from deer crashes.

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