Drowsy driving factors in a yearly average of 328,000 car crashes in Minnesota and across the U.S. It contributes to some 50,000 debilitating injuries and 6,400 fatalities every year according to the National Sleep Foundation. Most drivers know the danger of being drowsy behind the wheel, but many seem to do nothing about it. In AAA’s 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, nearly a third of drivers said they drove drowsy once in the previous 30 days.
This becomes a problem particularly during the switch from daylight saving time to standard time. Though everyone gets an extra hour of sleep, the body still has to adjust to the disruption that was made to its internal clock, and this causes drowsiness. Some even stay up late before the end of DST, adding to the drowsy feeling.
Studies have shown that accident numbers are higher in the first couple of days following the end of DST compared to the days preceding it. The Insurance Bureau of British Columbia reports that the two weeks following the end of DST see more crashes during the late afternoon commute than the two weeks before it.
This brings up another important issue: night driving. The sun sets sooner after DST ends, so drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians have to contend with limited visibility.
Drivers who are drowsy or negligent in some other way will be held responsible for any car accidents they cause. As for those who suffer injury, they may want to pursue a personal injury case with legal assistance. With a lawyer, they may be able to build up their case with evidence against the defendant although it might be difficult to prove drowsiness unless the defendant admitted to it from the start. The lawyer may also handle all negotiations for an out-of-court settlement.