The seasonal transition to daylight savings time can be a challenge for transportation businesses, but route optimization software offers conveniences that help fleet owners reduce the risk of accidents.
Industry experts have conflicting views about the effects of turning the clocks forward one hour in early March every year. According to a recent report from CBS New York, the first few days following the start of daylight savings time often result in a sharp increase in traffic accidents. The article cited data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatal Accident Reporting System that found a 17 percent jump in reported accidents on the Monday after the time change.
"Researchers believe it has to do with the fact that many people just don't get a good night's sleep the first night of daylight saving time, and it takes about a week to get acclimated," Sam Schwartz, a former commissioner for the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), told the website.
David Gerard, an associate professor of economics at Lawrence University, sees it differently. He suggested in an op-ed piece published in The New York Times that the extended daylight hours in early spring may actually reduce the number of fatalities and injuries associated with traffic accidents. Gerard pointed to data revealing how the end of daylight savings time in the fall has the tendency to cause more collisions during the evening commute because of the earlier sunset. However, by this measure, switching the clock to preserve sunlight at the end of the day would still put morning commuters at the same level of risk.
Efficiency improvements lead to safer operations
Direct route software can be a useful tool for small and midsized businesses that make relatively short deliveries within cities or specific regions every day. Few of these organizations can afford the large costs that come with managing driver injuries, vehicle damage and the other consequences of automobile accidents. That's why having the ability to track deliveries in real time and using robust customer information to plan shipping schedules can lead to valuable long-term savings. Rather than struggling to transition to daylight savings time, fleet managers can use route optimization software to have more control of their operations and avoid traffic-heavy areas that may be prone to an increase in collisions during periods with limited sunlight. At the same time, the boost in efficiency may help individual drivers and employees avoid fatigue and other issues that are common during the week following the time change.