Deer Crashes Could Reduce With Permanent Daylight Savings Time, Study Shows

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/Fokusiert)

A recent study is noting that there would be a marked decrease in crashes involving animals, primarily deer if permanent daylight savings time were to be instituted. These decreases were determined by researchers who studied wildlife collision data collected from 23 states. The experts then took this information to create a model that estimates the impacts a permanent daylight savings time would have nationwide.

Various State Police Agencies Respond To Thousands Of Calls To Respond To Vehicle Crashes That Involve Deer

State police officials all over the country see a marked increase in vehicle crashes involving deer this year. And, the experts say, the majority of the calls come after we fall back, losing an hour to daylight saving time. So, this had the agencies wondering: would a permanent daylight savings time help reduce the number of these crashes?

The study which is recorded in the Current Biology journal concludes that if the United States kept daylight savings time year-round as many as 37,000 fewer deer would be struck by a car in a vehicle versus deer impacts each year. The marked decrease in these collisions would lead to around 33 fewer human deaths. It also translates into a decrease in annual injuries by the thousands as well as savings of as much as $1.2 billion in damages.

“Specifically, this morning at around 7 o’clock,” notes Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Gregory Wilson.

“We did have one here in Baltimore County of a deer strike that did occur,” says Wilson. “So, it is something that is common.”

Could This Change Simply Switch The Dangerous Time From Evening To Early Morning?

Experts do note, however, that this move may not be the total solution it initially seems to be. The shift would just make it darker longer in the early morning hours rather than simply in the evening hours. Deer are more active at both dawn and dusk. So this may simply mean the dawn activity would increase.

“I believe the study that was done specifically relating to deer is they’re more active during dawn or dusk,” Wilson says.

“So, it’s just shifting that from one point in time of the day to the other,” he continues.

The report also notes that drivers communicating will be facing less time in rush-hour traffic during the dark hours. This translates into fewer accidents.

“Just like the hunters have their deer season, this is kind of our deer season,” notes autobody expert Nate Lashno.

“Typically, the driver of the vehicles don’t see it until it happens,” Lashno adds.

“They’re running into the side of the vehicles more often,” he continues. “So basically, (there’s) a front impact, an offset front impact, sometimes (the deer) even run into the doors.”