The long-awaited death knell to what has been known as daylight savings time (DST) has finally come to an end. For years, the need to “spring forward” for one more hour of daylight seemed an archaic custom with little to no purpose. The annual tradition itself seemed to do more harm than good.
Launched during World War I in Germany, DST was touted as a strategy to save energy at night. Over time, it has been the energy of people taking to the roads after losing one hour of much-needed rest. Hawaii and Arizona refused to adhere to the switch, with other states making varied attempts to end the yearly practice as well.
What a difference an hour can make
The most well-known statistic is the significant increase in heart attacks by 24 percent. Conversely, turning back the clock and enjoying an extra hour of sleep result in heart attack visits decreasing by 21 percent. Strokes and suicides are more likely as well.
Interrupted sleep schedules go beyond medical issues. The roads throughout the United States have become a more dangerous place. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, year-round daylight savings could play a major role in reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries.
From 1987 to 1991, a total of 901 accidents – 727 involving pedestrians and 174 including vehicle occupants – could have been avoided with year-round daylight savings and the loss of one hour of sleep.
Researchers point to an extra 40 minutes of sleep deprivation when changing the clocks. Over time, the “back and forth” is not healthy. From 2002 to 2011, tired drivers taking to the road led to 30 more people losing their lives in motor vehicle accidents than normal.
Ditching DST could very well save lives on roads throughout the United States.