3/7/2014 - Extra hour of daylight brings uptick in accidents
In addition to robin sightings and warmer temperatures, perhaps nothing is more synonymous with the arrival of spring than Daylight Savings Time, which will once again go into effect this weekend. However, even though it brings an extra hour of sun, giving outdoor enthusiasts several more minutes to enjoy the fresh air, it's also associated with a spike in auto insurance claims stemming from motor vehicle accidents.
Experts told the New York Daily News right around this time last year that because most people in the U.S. get one less hour's worth of sleep, there's a tendency for more crashes to take place the Monday following the day in which the clocks "spring forward."
Sam Schwartz, a former traffic commissioner in New York City, told the newspaper that this is something that happened fairly consistently when he was in public service.
"I always noticed a surge in crashes the week after daylight savings," said Schwartz.
As proof, he pointed to a University of British Columbia professor who examined crash data over a nine year period, from 1986 to 1995. On the first work day of Daylight Savings Time, there was a surge in collisions - by approximately 17%, on average.
Martin Moore-Ede, a former professor at Harvard Medical School, told the Daily News that part of the reason for the influx in accidents stems from people not getting enough sleep as a general rule.
It may also be due to drivers going several miles per hour over the speed limit in order to get to work on time. More than half of Americans say that speeding is a problem on today's roads, according to a recent poll performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.