According to estimates in a new study, drivers would avoid hitting and killing 37,000 fewer deer each year if the United States kept daylight saving time permanently in place. The study predicts that implementing daylight saving time year-round would also reduce the amount of time rush-hour traffic takes place during darkness, preventing approximately 33 deaths and 2,000 injuries. Additionally, roughly $1.2 billion would be saved in collision costs.
According to the same study, roughly 2.1 million vehicle crashes involve deer each year in the U.S, accounting for 440 human deaths. To understand the effects of seasonal time changes, researchers gathered wildlife and vehicle collision data from 23 states and then created a model to estimate the impacts nationwide. Deer are most active on both sides of dawn and dusk and the data show that drivers are far more likely to hit deer when it’s dark.
Daylight saving time is when many parts of the world set clocks ahead by one hour to shift sunlight later in the day. Last March, the Senate approved the Sunshine Protection Act, which was bipartisan legislation that would have made daylight saving time standard for all states except Arizona and Hawaii. The House did not advance the bill.
The data also revealed that car crashes involving deer spiked in the fall, meaning when drivers’ schedules switch to standard time, the clock aligns the heaviest traffic with darkness and during the peak of mating season.
After the time switch, fewer deer are killed in the mornings because there’s more light. However, not enough drivers set out before dawn to offset the increase in collisions during the evening rush hour. States in the Northern U.S. would benefit the most from a permanent daylight saving switch. Locations on the eastern edge of their time zone, when it gets dark earlier, would also benefit.
If you or a loved one have been affected by an accident or death, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a FREE and confidential consultation.