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HomeAnimals & HumansDeer-vehicle collisions spike when daylight saving time ends

Deer-vehicle collisions spike when daylight saving time ends


Folks pay deerly for the swap from daylight saving time.

The change to plain time in autumn corresponds with a median 16 p.c improve in deer-vehicle collisions in the USA, scientists report November 2 in Present Biology. The researchers estimate that eliminating the swap may save practically 37,000 deer — and 33 human lives.

In a typical yr, there are greater than 2 million deer-vehicle collisions — about 7 p.c of whole car crashes. To see how a lot the biannual time change impacts these numbers, wildlife biologist Laura Prugh and colleagues compiled knowledge from 23 states that tracked whether or not a crash concerned an animal and what time the crash occurred. The group in contrast these numbers to site visitors volumes for every state between 2013 and 2019, specializing in the weeks earlier than and after the switches to sunlight saving time in springtime and again to plain time come fall.

Springing ahead had little impact, however virtually 10 p.c of yearly deer collisions on common happened across the autumn fallback — when the majority of human site visitors shifted to after darkish. The issue was particularly acute on the East Coast. “You see [a] actually steep spike within the fall,” says Prugh, of the College of Washington in Seattle. “Within the western states, you additionally see a rise, but it surely’s not practically as sharp.” On the East Coast, the autumn swap falls in the midst of mating season for white-tailed deer. Not solely are extra drivers lively after darkish, extra deer are too. “The timing couldn’t be worse.”

Eliminating the clock change wouldn’t utterly wipe out the spike in crashes — mating season performs a giant function, no matter what time sundown occurs. However the scientists estimate that protecting daylight saving time year-round would lower whole deer-human collisions by about 2 p.c — saving dozens of individuals, hundreds of human accidents and tens of hundreds of deer. It’s another excuse for us all to maneuver towards the sunshine (SN: 3/31/14).

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