DAYLIGHT SAVINGS LEADS TO AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS
This Sunday at 2 a.m., the clocks will spring forward one hour as Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins. Originally suggested by Benjamin Franklin, DST was finally implemented during World War I as a means of fuel conservation, according to USA Today. It officially became a law in 1966 and is today observed in almost every state, including Tennessee.
Switching the clocks in the spring and fall has long been a controversial topic. One thing people on both side of the argument can agree on is that more light makes for a safer society. However, losing an hour of sleep every spring has been shown to contribute to an increase in car accidents in the days immediately following the time switch. One study found a five to seven percent increase in fatal accidents during the first three days after springing ahead one hour. Other studies found a similar effect when DST ends in the fall.
According to Business Insider, DST impacts the human body's circadian rhythms. When the sun rises one hour later following the spring time jump, it becomes difficult for many people to rise in the morning since their natural clocks align with the light. This change can confuse the body and cause decreased concentration, memory problems, fatigue and sleepiness. Those things, in turn, can lead to dangerous driving and an increase in accidents.
While there are plenty of people who are for and against DST, there are also those who believe that DST should be year round in order to provide an extra hour of light in the evening. Regardless of where people stand on the issue, they may want to exercise caution while on the road the first few days after the time switch.