Does Daylight Savings Time reduce car crashes?
Introduction: Daylight saving time (DST), implemented as an energy saving policy, impacts many other aspects of life; one is road safety. Based on vehicle crash data in Minnesota from 2001 to 2007, this paper evaluates long- and short-term effects of DST on daily vehicle crashes. Method: To provide evidence to explain the causes of more/fewer crashes in DST, we examine the impact of DST on crashes in four periods of a day: 3 a.m.-9 a.m., 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 3 p.m.-9 p.m., 9 p.m.-midnight. The effects of risk and exposure to traffic are also separated. Our statistical models not only include weather conditions and dummy variables for days in DST as independent variables, but also consider traffic volumes on major roads in different periods of a day. Our major finding is that the short-term effect of DST on crashes on the morning of the first DST is not statistically significant. Moreover, it is interesting to notice that while DST per se is associated with fewer crashes during dusk, this is in part offset because it is also associated with more traffic on roads (and hence more crashes). Our path analysis shows that overall DST reduces crashes. Impact on industry: Daylight saving time can lead to fewer crashes on roads by providing better visibility for drivers.
Source: “The effects of daylight saving time on vehicle crashes in Minnesota” from Journal of Safety Research, Volume 41, Issue 6, December 2010, Pages 513-520
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