We Pay Deerly for Daylight Saving Time

When driving, it's important to look out for deer. Source: Tri-City Herald.

By Emma Wu

Autumn daylight saving time is one that many people may view with happiness. It means an extra hour of sleep during the busy week when we switch to standard time in autumn. However, this switch in schedule has an unexpected consequence. Vehicle collisions with deer shoot up to a frightening number, increasing the death toll of both deer and humans.

Daylight savings time during autumn moves standard time back an hour for us. As such, it is darker during earlier hours of the day. Therefore, times that people normally drive home from work that were lighter before, were now darker and in less friendly driving conditions. In addition, on the East Coast, it is currently mating season for the white-tailed deer. Hence, not only are there more people on the road in the dark, but there are also more deer as well. The darkness and increased number of deer both contribute to the 16 percent increase in deer-vehicle collisions during the autumn daylight savings time.

Another study was done tracking the number of deer-vehicle collisions from 2013-2019. This study compiled data from 23 states regarding vehicle collisions. This data was sorted in categories, crashes involving animals and the times at which they occurred. On average, there are nearly 2 million deer-vehicle crashes a year, which would equate to roughly 7 percent of all vehicle collisions. Nearly 10 percent of yearly deer collisions occur during autumn savings time.

Eliminating the switch of standard times could save many lives. Researchers have reported that by eliminating the switch, an estimated 37,000 deer and 33 people’s lives could be saved. This is yet another reason why we should eliminate daylight savings time.