Daylight-Saving Time and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Daylight Savings sign

Jeremy Roberts, an Ottawa MPP, advanced a private member’s bill in October 2020 to bring the province of Ontario permanent daylight time, contending that the practice of changing clocks twice a year brings “more harm than good” to the citizens of Ontario. Moving the clock one hour ahead in the spring and pulling them back in the fall has been a century-old practice in Canada, but scientists and health experts have long warned of its negative health effects.

According to a Current Biology publication in January of 2020, the spring daylight saving time shift increases fatal traffic accident risk by approximately 6% in the United States, citing driver sleep deprivation and misalignment of circadian sleep rhythms, the effect of which is also transferable to drivers in Canada. Celine Vetter and her team analyzed 732,835 cases of fatal accidents in the U.S. between 1996 and 2017 and found that 28 deaths a year can be attributed to the shift to the daylight-saving Time transition. They argue that the 28 deaths per year could be preventable should the switch be made.

The study concludes that daylight-saving time should be abolished and recommends countries such as Canada and the U.S. to return to standard time permanently.

On November 25, 2020, Jeremy Roberts’ private member’s bill, Bill 214, effectively passed its third and final reading within the Ontario legislature with unanimous assent and received Royal Assent on November 30. The bill will only take effect, however, if the province of Quebec, as well as the State of New York, enacted similar legislation.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident or is having a dispute with your insurance company over benefits, contact JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP for a free initial consultation.
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