In the days leading up to daylight savings, conversations surround the validity of moving clocks back one hour. While Congress continues its inaction on legislation to end the bi-annual trend, motor vehicle accidents continue after “falling back” or “falling forward.”
Accidents immediately following the November shift are killing more than 30 people and almost 37,000 deer annually, according to Current Biology, which analyzed crash data from 23 states between 1994 and 2021. Many experts see brighter mornings and darker evenings as a strong indication that changing clocks is anything but harmless.
How crashes occur
Deer and other animals see the most activity around sunrise and sunset. Two hours post-sunset reveals a 14-time frequency as opposed to two hours prior. In the week following clocks wound back in the fall, accidents increased by 16 percent.
Some researchers see the pattern developing due to alterations in deer behavior, particularly during mating season in the fall. Activity increases by 50 percent while more drivers are traveling while it is dark due to the change.
Another study cites that the solution is to stop the twice-yearly practice to have countless benefits for both deer and humans. The outcome could save 440 people annually, not to mention preventing approximately 59,000 injuries to humans while saving $10 billion in injury costs and damages.
Opponents claim that changing to permanent standard time would have the opposite effect. They predict that an additional 73,000+ collisions would lead to 66 more deaths of humans and 4,140 more injuries, with the costs adding up to $2.39 billion.