Does Daylight Saving Time Lead to More Accidents?
XIE 1: Jose de la Rosa parks every day at the Icon garage near Times Square. He commutes from Connecticut, a trip that takes him up to two hours. I ask him whether he has heard Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent warning to drivers: Be extra careful when driving after the switch to daylight savings time.
XIE: Did you know that you have a 10 percent more chance of getting into an accident?
DE LA ROSA 1: I did not know that.
XIE 2: What de la Rosa doesn’t know is this: Drivers are more likely to get into an accident when they sleep less — even if it’s just one hour. Hundreds of thousands of people commute to the city by car every morning — and that’s without counting taxis and buses. But as part of Vision Zero, which aims to reduce road accidents in New York, the mayor hopes all drivers will be a little extra careful this week. De la Rosa says he’ll give it a try.
XIE: And what are you going to do to make sure that an accident doesn’t happen?
DE LA ROSA 2: Get enough sleep and drive carefully.
XIE 3: Other commuters, like New Jersey resident Bob Marino, will take a less proactive approach.
MARINO: I play it by ear, you know. I’m a hostage as soon as I leave the house. So if it happens, it happens.
XIE 4: University of Pennsylvania researcher Namni Goel says commuters can do more than drink an extra cup of coffee on Monday morning. They can start preparing as early as Friday.
GOEL: One thing you could do is go to bed earlier starting like tonight and tomorrow night so that you’ve already sorta adjusted your biological clock for that one-hour change.
XIE 5: But even that may not be enough to keep the roads safe. De Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which launched in 2014, aims to reduce the number of accidents to zero. And there has been progress — 2015 was the safest year on the streets in more than a century, with only 231 traffic fatalities.
But, daylight savings or not, will the city get to zero? Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says no.
BRATTON: You’re not going to get to zero. It’s a great goal.
XIE 6: And for some, like commercial truck driver Harold Mosley, potential accidents are just a part of life in the city — no matter what time of year it is.
MOSELY: You can get into an accident pretty much anytime, whether daylight savings or, you know. In New York City, I don’t think it matters.
XIE 7: Well, at least there is the subway. Suzie Xie, Columbia Radio News.