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Switch to standard time could lead to drowsy driving

Every year in California and across the U.S., an average of 328,000 car crashes occur because of drowsy driving. The National Sleep Foundation reports that these incidents annually result in some 50,000 debilitating injuries and 6,400 fatalities. The problem is not that people are unaware of the danger: In AAA’s 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 96% of respondents said driving drowsy is dangerous, but 27% admitted to doing it in the previous 30 days.

The risk for drowsy driving increases with the end of daylight saving time according to AAA and other experts. While it is good to gain one hour for sleeping, the change disrupts people’s sleep/wake cycle and circadian rhythm. This will naturally affect people in different ways, but drivers will most likely experience a lack of alertness behind the wheel. This may last for several days.

AAA also warns drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians about the shortening of the days. The sun will set sooner when daylight saving time ends, making the commute home a dark one for many drivers. Night driving is unsafe because of the reduced visibility, which is why drivers are advised to slow down as well as maintain clean headlights. Pedestrians and cyclists, for their part, should never jaywalk or be distracted by headphones or other devices.

Drowsy and distracted driving are just two common factors in car crashes. Both are examples of negligence and can form the basis for a personal injury claim that, if successful, might reimburse plaintiffs for losses like medical expenses, vehicle repair or replacement costs and lost wages. To ensure a strong case, victims may want to retain a lawyer. Victims can leave the gathering of proof and the negotiating of a settlement to the lawyer. As a last resort, the lawyer may take the case to court.