Everyone dreads the first few mornings after the spring time change because of the loss of an hour of sleep. We all know sleep is important to our overall health. Data from a recent study on daylight savings time shows that even a little change in sleep can have deadly consequences for drivers.
A paper presented at the American Economic Association tracked fatal car crashes from 2002 to 2011 and found vehicle fatalies increased 6 percent over the 6 days following the “spring forward” time change. The data did not show a significant change in crashes after the “fall back” time change.
This and other evidence led researchers to conclude that it was the loss of one hour of sleep and the disurption to sleep patterns caused by losing an hour of sleep that led to the increase in fatal crashes. This added up to more than 300 additional traffic deaths over the ten year period studied.
Investigating traffic fatalities is a big part of the work our law firm does. Our firm recently settled a case involving a passenger killed in a collision with a large truck. The truck driver had not slept but a few hours the night before and was at the end of his shift and was tired. 18 wheeler accidents, single vehicle accidents where car safety features failed, car collisions between multiple cars – many of the accidents we investigate have an element of sleepy or fatigued drivers involved. 18 wheeler and other commercial truck drivers have limits on the amount of time they can drive in any period so they are not sleepy and a danger to other drivers. Unfortunately, not all drivers observe these rules, and the consequences are deadly. When a car veers into oncoming traffic late at night or early in the morning, sleep can often be a factor.
At Jinks, Crow & Dickson, PC, our car accident, 18 wheeler accident, and product liability lawyers are able to recreate accident scenes and events through expert technology and testimony to determine whether an opposing driver was fatigued or asleep when the accident happened. It is an important piece of a bigger puzzle we try to solve in making sure our clients are compensated when they are seriously injured or a loved one is killed in an automobile accident. We have successfully handled numerous cases involving driver fatigue in Union Springs, Tuskegee, Clayton, Phenix City, Montgomery, and throughout Alabama and Georgia, and we continue to do so.
Take extra precaution late at night and early in the morning when you see another vehicle because you could be coming up on a fatigued driver. This is true especially in the weeks after we all “spring forward.”