As we put the coldest of winter weather behind us, Oregon residents are enjoying warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours. While this naturally increases over spring and summer, daylight savings time gives mother nature a push. It commences on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 2:00 a.m., when we set clocks ahead an hour.
There has been a significant amount of controversy over the years concerning time changes and efforts to do away with the practice. Our Oregon personal injury attorneys explain some of the most recent developments surrounding the issue, as well as common concerns regarding the potential risks.
How Daylight Savings Time Increases The Risk Of Personal Injuries In Oregon
Residents of Oregon and other states across the country will ‘spring forward’ an hour in mid-March for Daylight Savings Time. While it extends daylight hours during the evening, allowing more time for your favorite outdoor activities, the lost hour of sleep that results can disrupt your schedule and negatively impact your overall health.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), daylight savings time temporarily disrupts your normal sleep schedule, which can impact the body’s circadian rhythms. These act as the brain’s inner clock and regulate your energy and alertness based on the environment. Extending daylight hours can result in increased fatigue, which also impacts other body functions, including the heart.
There is a general increase in heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health conditions as we make the adjustment to the time change. There is also a noticeable increase in the risk of accidents resulting in potentially life-threatening personal injuries. These include:
- Car accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Work-related accidents.
Controversy Over Eliminating Daylight Savings Time In Oregon
Not all states adhere to the practice of changing the clocks for daylight savings time in the spring and back to standard time in the fall. Hawaii and Arizona are two exceptions. Due to the risks and the potentially negative health impacts, other states have sought to do away with the time change in the fall and remain in Daylight Savings Time year-round. This includes Oregon. However, Oregon Public Broadcasting details some of the hurdles the state has encountered along the way:
- In 2019, Oregon passed a law making daylight savings time permanent. However, the other west coast states under Pacific Standard Time (California and Washington) had to agree to it as well.
- Washington was quick to establish their own bill, but the matter was more complicated in California. While voters supported the measure, it failed to pass the state legislature.
- Even if the measure passed in California, it still required approval from Congress, as federal laws do not allow for Daylight Savings Time year-round.
- In March of 2022, the U.S. Senate did pass the Sunshine Protection Act, allowing for permanent Daylight Savings Time. However, it failed to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives.
How To Reduce Personal Injury Risks During Time Changes
While we wait for legal issues to resolve in California and under U.S. laws, Oregonians must continue to make time changes twice each year. That lost hour of sleep in the spring can wreak serious havoc with your health and increases personal injury risks. To protect yourself, the National Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips:
- Begin adjusting your sleep schedule: Do not wait for the time change to disrupt your sleep patterns. Going to bed and waking up a little earlier prior to the change can help you adjust.
- Make changes in other daily activities: Take advantage of increased daylight hours and consider making slight changes to meal schedules, workouts, and other activities.
- Make sleep a priority: Many people go into Daylight Savings Time sleep-deprived to begin with. Make getting a full eight hours a top priority.
- Take other steps to protect your health: Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and eliminating bad habits such as overeating, overindulging in alcohol, and smoking can all help to protect your brain, heart, and other vital body organs and systems.
When Accidents Happen, Contact Our Oregon Personal Injury Attorneys
Accidents tend to become more common during the switch to Daylight Savings Time. If you or someone you love is injured, request a consultation at the Johnston Law Firm. We provide the professional legal representation you need to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Oregon personal injury attorneys online today.