As daylight savings time rolls around once again, many, including myself are grateful for the one extra hour of sleep. However, actions have been made to make daylight savings time a permanent, year-round thing. What does that mean for us other than the disruption of our sleep schedules twice a year? A new study shows in the journal of Current Biology that this change could actually benefit our roads, eliminating rush hour traffic under the darkness of night. According to the study, 2.1 million car crashes in the United States happen annually due to deer and these crashes account for almost four and a half hundred human deaths as well. “If you drive two hours after dark, you’re 14 times more likely to hit a deer than if you drive before dark,” said the author of the paper and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, Calum Cunningham. He also illustrates the heightened amount of car crashes around the time of daylight savings.
Unfortunately, the implementation of daylight savings comes at the worst time possible for the deer. The time change happens right in the middle of the mating season, according to Cunningham. On the other hand, during the springtime shift, fewer deer are killed. However, not enough people leave their homes before dawn to make up for the rise in collisions during the evening rush hour. Thanks to the efforts underway by the Senate earlier this year, permanent daylight savings is to be implemented and projected to help keep our roads much safer.
Animals do not have a voice and they are often neglected in considering cons and pros of decisions we make as a society. They need to be invited to the table as regulars and their rights also need to be weighed out. In the end, they are co-habitants of this planet we are living on.
Daniel Kim (November 2022)