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Car accidents might be linked to time change and drowsy driving

The roads in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania can be a dangerous place. What can make the roads even more treacherous are outside influences, some of which people have little control over. One that is often overlooked is daylight saving time. While this is a normal part of the year and moving the clocks forward is generally viewed as a positive because it means winter is nearly over, studies have shown that it can place people on the road at risk.

In the immediate aftermath of the time change, the effects of losing one hour of sleep can lead to drowsy drivers. Another issue that is worrisome is the possibility that people heading out on the road in the morning will be in darkness - something they were not accustomed to before the clocks were moved forward. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted research into drowsy driving and it found that an estimated 10 percent of accidents were caused by drowsy driving - eight times what federal agencies estimated it to be.

Pennsylvania has had its share of accidents because of drowsy driving. There were 2,625 auto accidents in 2016 because of this, which caused 25 deaths. AAA states that drivers who are deprived of one to two hours of sleep within a 24-hour period are at double the risk of being in a car accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that 35 percent of drivers across the nation do not get enough sleep. Ninety-six percent of drivers who were surveyed said they believe drowsy driving is a danger, while 29 percent stated they drove while they were struggling to keep their eyes open.

After a car accident, people can be severely injured or even killed. It can result in extended hospital stays, lost wages and other problems. When there is a fatality, the family will need to come to grips with the unexpected and unnecessary loss of a loved one.

The investigation into the case is key to determining how and why it happened. If drowsy driving was a factor, this can be essential to a case. A legal professional experienced in car accidents can assist in seeking compensation in a legal filing.

Source: timesleader.com, "AAA: Turn your clock ahead, and be extra careful on the roads," Bill O'Boyle, March 10, 2018

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