If there was a competition of power between children and Daylight Savings Time (DST), DST would win every time! As we change our clocks (spring forward and fall back) Daylight Savings Time creates difficulties for parents as their children adjust to time changes. It’s not fun! Papa Rich gives us answers to DST questions and how it might change. 👵🏻🧡💡⏰
Shall we make Daylight Savings Time permanent—and avoid changing the clocks each March and November? There’s a movement in the United States to do just that. So far, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington have passed laws making DST permanent. The Utah House of Representatives just passed a bill to make DST permanent, provided the Governor signs the bill and four other western states also agree to year-round DST. All state laws are contingent upon federal government approval. President Donald Trump recently tweeted that he thought “permanent DST was OK.”
DST was implemented in the U.S. on March 31, 1918, as a wartime effort to save an hour’s worth of fuel each day to light lamps and coal to heat homes. It was repealed nationwide in 1919, and reinstitute nationwide in 1966 under the Uniform Time Act. Approximately 1.5 billion people in 70 countries observe DST.
In the 1960s, when DST was debated, some farmers argued that it adversely affected their cow milking. Proponents of DST said cows don’t know what time it is anyway, but the real point was that the actual time of milking did have to change when the clock changed, because of the schedules of farmhands and school children who help on the farm. And the cows are affected by actual changes to the milking shifts.
People favoring DST say it allows drivers to commute more safely in daylight, promotes outdoor activities, and stimulates the economy. Those who oppose DST say that the springtime change is a harmful disruption to health and work productivity, and is expensive. While the time change was initially implemented to save energy, our current use of air conditioning and heating may negate the energy saved by not having to use electric lights and may actually increase electricity usage. Modern society, with computers, TV-screens, and air conditioning units, uses more energy, no matter if the sun is up or not.
Changing the clocks does not create extra daylight, but adds an hour of natural daylight to our afternoon schedule. Longer evenings may motivate people to get out of the house. The extra hour of daylight can be used for outdoor recreation, counteracting the sedentary lifestyle of modern living. The tourism industry profits from lighter evenings. Longer nights give people more time to go shopping, to restaurants, or to other events, boosting the local economy.
Safety is also a good argument for keeping the lighter evenings of DST. Studies have found that DST contributes to improved road safety by reducing pedestrian fatalities by 13% during dusk hours. Another study found reduced robberies following the spring switch to DST.
Changing the time twice a year, even if it is only by 1 hour, disrupts our body clocks/circadian rhythm and may lead to increased accidents.
The bottom line, from my perspective, is that DST has a lot of benefits, but there is no need to play with the clock twice a year. Let’s adopt DST year-round.
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