Early in the morning of the first Sunday in November, daylight savings time will end for 2021. Most of us don’t think much about it, except to complain about the hour of sleep we lose every spring. But safety experts believe that adjusting the time by an hour twice a year might contribute to the rate of serious car accidents in America.
That is one reason for the rising trend of trying to end daylight savings time in this country. So far this year, legislators in 33 states have introduced bills to eliminate the practice. A handful of states, including Alabama and Georgia, have passed anti-daylight savings time bills, but those states need federal authorization to actually stop it. So, for now, at least, daylight savings time will continue in all states except for Arizona and Hawaii.
How does daylight savings time affect traffic safety?
In many states, when daylight savings time ends each fall, workers must commute to their jobs in the dark. Driving in darkness can increase the risk of getting into a car accident. So can drowsy driving. The hourlong shift can disrupt sleeping patterns, taking away a good night’s sleep for several days until people adjust. Drowsy drivers are more likely to make a mistake that causes serious injuries on the road.
In theory, without the time shifts, there would be fewer car crashes. Just how much safer the country’s highways would become is not clear since it would be the first time since 1975 that there was no national time shift.
There are plenty of human dangers on the road
Daylight savings time may never go away in the U.S. entirely. Meanwhile, there are a lot of ways that drivers put others in danger, such as drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding and following too closely.