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More Sleep Means More Accidents after Daylight Saving Time

Posted on Nov 02, 2012

Attorney Chris Davis points out that despite the extra hour of sleep we get from the fall shift of daylight saving time, a number of studies suggest that the risk of being involved in a car accident increases significantly the day after we roll back the clocks.

This Sunday, Nov. 4, most states throughout the country will set the clock back one full hour as daylight saving time comes to an end. And while most of those impacted by daylight saving are looking forward to an extra hour of sleep, numerous studies indicate that the day after daylight saving records a significantly higher number of car accidents in the United States.

Seattle accident attorney Chris Davis, author of “The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Accident Case,” says it’s a popular misconception that the additional hour of rest makes people more alert and safer behind the wheel.

“The data suggests that there are more car accidents the day after daylight saving, both in the spring and in the fall shifts, and there are two major factors that play into this,” says Davis. “First, daylight is reduced either in the morning or in the evening, depending on the season. Second, our bodies are trying to adapt to a new sleeping schedule, which typically causes fatigue.”

Major studies on the subject have shown that the loss of sleep during the spring shift of daylight saving leads to an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents throughout the country. But additional studies, including one published by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM), indicate that the fall shift also leads to an increase in the number of collisions. And as Davis mentioned, the diminished evening daylight during the fall shift means more people are driving in the dark.

Results of recent studies suggest that the simple change in sleeping activity, rather than reduced or added sleep time, is responsible for the spike in accidents and injuries. “The behavioral adaptation anticipating the longer day on Sunday of the shift from DST in the fall leads to an increased number of accidents, suggesting an increase in late night (early Sunday morning) driving when traffic related fatalities are high possibly related to alcohol consumption and driving while sleepy,” reads an excerpt from the WASM study. “Public health educators should probably consider issuing warnings both about the effects of sleep loss in the spring shift and possible behaviors such as staying out later, particularly when consuming alcohol in the fall shift.”

Mr. Davis, the founder and principal attorney at the Davis Law Group in Seattle, also wants to stress that daylight saving is not the only example of an increase in the risk of motor vehicle accidents based on a particular day of the year. In fact, Davis and his staff have published a vast collection of informational articles and resources on similar topics on the Davis Law Group website. The website is just one of many free resources that Davis provides in an attempt to empower accident victims as they pursue a personal injury claim.

As an additional public service to residents of Washington State, Davis is offering his book, “Washington Injury Law: A Reference Guide for Accident Victims” free of charge to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge about personal injury law in Washington. Those interested in obtaining a free copy should visit or call the Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000.

About Chris Davis

Christopher M. Davis, founder of the Davis Law Group, has been a licensed attorney in the state of Washington since 1993. He has tried dozens of personal injury cases to verdict and has successfully handled and resolved hundreds of accident claims. He has been a Washington Super Lawyer' for seven years in a row for his expertise and success in litigating personal injury claims. You can learn more about the firm by visiting: