Study Finds Permanent Daylight Saving Time Would Decrease Deer Collisions
According to a study that was released on Wednesday in the journal Current Biology, permanent daylight saving time will lessen the number of deer-vehicle incidents. Year-round daylight saving would “certainly avert an estimated 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human deaths, 2,054 human injuries, and $1.19 billion in costs each year,” according to researchers at the University of Washington.
According to the team of researchers led by postdoctoral researcher Calum Cunningham and associate professor of quantitative wildlife sciences Laura Prugh, there are an estimated 2.1 million deer-vehicle incidents in the United States each year. These accidents cost an estimated $10 billion and resulted in 440 fatalities and 59,000 injuries in people.
In a press release from the University of Washington, Cunningham stated that “wildlife-vehicle collisions are a big and developing problem.” “There are societal costs—people murdered and hurt—and it’s also a conservation issue as it’s one of the major drivers of human-caused wildlife mortality,” the author says.
More than 1 million deer-vehicle incidents occurred between 1994 and 2021 in 23 states, and the study’s analysis of the data revealed that most of these collisions took place between sunset and morning. Nearly 10% of the crashes happen during the two-week period surrounding the switch from daylight saving time to standard time, and there is a 16% increase in deer-vehicle collisions in the week after the move to standard time. The collisions peak in the fall.
In addition to the time change occurring during deer mating season, the rise was ascribed to people driving in darker conditions.
“Strategies like year-round daylight saving time would generate large benefits for wildlife protection and lower the social and economic consequences of deer-vehicle incidents,” the report said. “Daylight saving time reduces traffic during the dark hours, especially during the mating season of prolific ungulates.
March saw the U.S. The Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent starting in November 2023, was approved by the Senate with a unanimous vote. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, spearheaded the effort to get the bill passed by citing studies that showed an hour more of sunlight later in the day lowers crime rates, lowers rates of seasonal sadness, and gives kids more time to play outside. To become law, the measure still needs to pass the House and be approved by Vice President Biden.
Six in ten Americans, according to a Monmouth University survey, favored making daylight saving time permanent. Currently, the majority of the United States sets its clocks one hour forward on the second weekend in March and one hour back on the first weekend in November. The most recent four-week extension was issued by the federal government in 2007.