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1-hour time loss this weekend may make many drowsy, less alert

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As Utah prepares to "spring forward" Sunday, AAA Utah says there are safety concerns that come with the daylight saving time change.

As Utah prepares to “spring forward” Sunday, AAA Utah says there are safety concerns that come with the daylight saving time change.

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SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah prepares to "spring forward" one hour Sunday, AAA Utah says there are safety concerns that come with the daylight saving time change.

Data from the National Safety Council suggests the occurrence of car crashes increases by up to 6 percent on the Mondays following the spring time change, said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough.

"People just have not had their internal clocks reset and they're drowsy and they're just not as aware as alert as they typically are," she said.

Another study from Michigan State University, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests that workplace injuries also increase with the time change.

Utah lawmakers have a long history with the issues related to daylight saving time.

In 1997, the Legislature passed SJR3, a resolution that asked the federal government to end daylight saving time "to increase safety on Utah's roads" by allowing more light in the morning hours.

The resolution also referenced data from a Canadian study in 1991 and 1992 that suggested that accident rates increased by up to 8 percent in the spring and decreased by 8 percent after drivers get an extra hour of sleep in the fall.

That resolution passed, but no federal action was ever taken.

Lawmakers have tried to exempt Utah from daylight saving multiple times throughout the years. At least one of those bills has been attempted each year since 2010, although only a couple attempts have even been heard by a committee.

Earlier this month, a House committee again rejected a proposal to keep Utah on Mountain Standard Time year-round. Lawmakers said they were tired of discussing the same issue each year.

"This is kind of like 'Groundhog Day' all over again," said Rep. Doug Sagers, R-Tooele. "I am kind of tired of it."

Rep. Fred Cox, R-West Valley City, said the only reason for his sponsorship of the measure was because surveys and polls indicate the majority of Utah residents favor staying on one time schedule, rather than resetting clocks in the spring and the fall.

One lawmaker suggested if it is that big of a desire of Utah residents, it might be an issue best suited for a public referendum.

Since no government action has been taken, the time will change at 2 a.m. Sunday and drivers should take precautions.

"Get some rest this weekend. Be aware that you need to take some precautions and hopefully everyone else is. But give them a little wiggle room so that you can avoid any problems," Fairclough said.

Email: elarson@deseretnews.com