Ditch the switch? Call to go on permanent daylight saving time grows


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  tig  •  last year  •  49 comments

Ditch the switch? Call to go on permanent daylight saving time grows
Changing our clocks twice a year can be confusing — and it might also kill us, studies show. Now activists and some lawmakers are trying to do away with the "antiquated practice."

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

By   Elizabeth Chuck

In the days after our   chronically sleep-deprived   country “springs forward,” costing us an hour of rest, disoriented Americans face a slightly greater risk of   heart attack   and   stroke . There are more   car crashes .   Workplace accidents   increase, too.

For decades, most of the United States has observed daylight saving time, dutifully changing the clocks twice a year. But recently, many have begun to question the semi-annual switch — not only because of the potential dangers associated with it, but because staying on one time year-round could bring benefits ranging from the economic to the emotional, according to those leading the charge to “lock the clock.”

“We don’t have a good reason to do it. Let’s stop,” said Scott Yates, 54, of Denver, an activist who for more than five years has   advocated for the elimination of the time change and has testified before state legislatures about it. “Even if it doesn’t kill you, it’s annoying.”

“Even if it doesn’t kill you, it’s annoying.”

It’s a movement that has suddenly exploded in popularity. So far this year, at least 36 states have introduced legislation to end or study the practice, more than any year before. Some bills call for all-year standard time, but most endorse permanent daylight saving time — which would result in an extra hour of evening sunlight for more of the year in exchange for a delayed sunrise in the winter.

The issue has played out on social media with the hashtags   #DitchTheSwitch   and   #LockTheClock , and it has pitted recreational businesses that would benefit from longer days, like golf courses, against groups that worry about the danger of darker mornings, such as parent-teacher associations.

“The positive is obvious: Nobody likes to change the clock,” said David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time." “You lose an hour of sleep, and nobody likes that.”

But delayed sunrises can be problematic, Prerau said, adding that an experiment with year-round daylight time in the 1970s was “very, very unpopular.”

“People didn’t like waking up in the dark, going to work in the dark, and especially didn’t like sending their kids to school in the dark on dark city streets or standing on the side of rural roads,” he said. “There was a strong negative reaction.”

Nonetheless, so far, legislation to go on year-round daylight saving time has passed in at least seven states, including Delaware, Maine and Tennessee this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oregon was the most recent, approving year-round daylight saving on June 17.

“After the 2018 time change, I don’t know what happened, but people got grouchy.”

“After the 2018 time change, I don’t know what happened, but people got grouchy,” Oregon state Rep. Bill Post, a Republican who sponsored the bill,   told the Oregon Public Broadcasting network.

The grouchiness is not just in Oregon. A   month   earlier, Washington legislators adopted year-round daylight saving time. California voters have   approved   the same, and sometime as early as next month, the California state Senate is expected to review the matter, according to state Assemblyman Kansen Chu, a Democrat and the bill’s author.


Gov. Jay Inslee signs a bill to make daylight saving time permanent in the state if federal law changes to allow it on May 8, 2019, in Olympia, Wash. Rachel La Corte / AP file

But the state enactments of year-round daylight time are meaningless — for now, at least.

Federal statute says that any state can opt out of daylight saving and elect to go on standard time permanently — which Arizona, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have done for decades. But states that follow daylight saving time must adhere to the federally set dates for it, which are currently the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November.

A push for more sunshine, led by the Sunshine State

Leading the charge to change the federal law is Florida. In 2018, it became the first state to approve year-round daylight time after Greg Steube, a Republican who was then in the state Senate and is now in the U.S. House, filed legislation to stop the clock shift.

Steube said he got the idea one fall after his barber mentioned her young children were having trouble adjusting to the hour-difference. On a whim, Steube decided to look into getting rid of the practice, and polling among constituents revealed an unexpectedly high level of support for sticking to one time all year, particularly daylight time. Steube said he was also bombarded with calls from executives in the tourist industry who felt an extra hour of daylight could help business.

Following state passage of the bill, called the Sunshine Protection Act, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took the fight for year-round daylight saving time to the federal level, along with Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. Rubio first proposed it last year, but it stalled in Congress. Rubio and Buchanan reintroduced it in March,   arguing   it would decrease rates of childhood obesity and improve the economy, among other benefits.

“It has become clear this antiquated practice no longer serves any purpose.”

“It has become clear this antiquated practice no longer serves any purpose,” Rubio wrote in a   letter   to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the key committee that needs to take up the bill.

The Sunshine Protection Act has bipartisan support, and President Donald Trump has already voiced his approval. In March, after the U.S. moved its clocks ahead an hour, Trump   tweeted   that permanent daylight time was “O.K. with me.”

“Yes, this is something that is silly,” he said. But, he added, “This could bring members from both sides of the aisle together and affect the lives of every American.”

How daylight saving time came to be (It wasn’t the farmers)

Daylight saving time began in World War I, when Germany, Britain and other countries implemented it to conserve energy for the war. The United States followed suit in 1918.

Despite the widely held myth, it wasn’t farmers who started it. In fact, farmers have historically opposed it because it costs them an hour of morning sunshine used to move their products to marketplaces. (Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time,” blames the farmers myth on Lincoln Filene, a Boston department store owner who wanted more daylight hours for shoppers to come in; thinking it would sway the powerful farm lobby at the time, Filene created a “preposterous” list of benefits farmers would enjoy from daylight saving, which spread, Downing said.)

While Benjamin Franklin and a New Zealand bug hunter have been credited with inventing the concept, it was a British man with a penchant for horseback rides at sunrise,   William Willet , whose idea of springing the clocks forward an hour caught on in Europe and then in the U.S. in the early 1900s.

When it was first implemented, most people didn’t question it.

“A lot of people thought of it as a war measure,” Prerau said. “In a war, you’re not so picky.”

After the first World War ended, daylight time was officially repealed in America, but continued to be used in some parts of the country. It was then implemented year-round during World War II, and repealed again after the war ended.

But by that point, many Americans had begun to like daylight time. Some entire states enacted it, while elsewhere, individual cities opted in. The result was dizzying: On a   bus ride   that covered just 35 miles from Steubenville, Ohio, to Moundsville, West Virginia, passengers had to change their watch seven times to accurately keep time.

"It became clock chaos.”

“As it spread more and more in the 1950s and ‘60s, it became clock chaos,” Prerau said.

To quell the madness, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966, requiring daylight saving time, if followed, to be in effect statewide.

In the years since, Congress has re-examined the start and end dates of daylight time, extending it twice.

The first time, in 1986, Congress voted to extend it from six to seven months, moving up the start date to the first Sunday in April and keeping the end date the last Sunday of October, less than a week shy of Halloween that year; this was a disappointment to lobbyists for the sweets industry, who   planted   candy pumpkins on the seats of every senator at the time, hoping to sway them to extend daylight saving a little longer so there would be an extra hour of sunlight for trick-or-treating.

The candy sellers got their way two decades later, in 2007, when daylight time was extended on both ends to its current eight-month span.

The arguments for and against year-round daylight saving time

Those against switching the clocks point out that the original purpose of daylight time, to conserve energy, no longer applies (a Yale professor of economics in 2008 found daylight time actually   increased   energy demand).

Among the proponents of year-round daylight saving are businesses, including convenience stores and golf courses, that would benefit from the extra daylight, and others who see year-round daylight saving as a boon to public safety. A 2015 study in the Review of Economics and Statistics found there was an average of 7 percent less crime overall following the shift to daylight saving time, with a 27 percent drop during the evening hour of gained sunlight.

“Even better, robbery rates didn’t increase in the morning, even though those hours were darker – apparently, criminals aren’t early risers,” the authors of the study   wrote   in a blog post.

If daylight saving time is enacted year-round, the sun would not rise in December and January until after 9 o’clock in major cities like Detroit, Indianapolis and Seattle, and about 8:30 a.m. in New York and Chicago, according to Prerau.

Sunrises that late could put students in danger, some say.

“These students would be waiting for buses or walking to school in the dark, making them more difficult to see and potentially creating safety issues for our children as they cross streets or wait at intersections,” the Florida PTA said in a statement.

Others   worry   that dark mornings could affect Americans’ mental health, bringing on more depression and seasonal affective disorder. (This is a point of contention: Rubio and other proponents say permanent daylight time   reduces   the risk of seasonal depression.)

Regardless, the lack of morning light could take people by surprise, as history has shown.

Amid the Arab oil embargo, President Richard Nixon   signed   the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 that sprung clocks forward an hour, taking effect in January 1974. Year-round daylight saving time was supposed to be in place for two years, but the following summer, despite the fact that the energy crisis wasn’t resolved, lawmakers scrapped it because Americans missed seeing the sun at the start of their bleak winter days.

“Going to work in the pitch-dark was very unpleasant for a lot of people,” Prerau said. “It’s also colder because you’re getting up in the dark before sunrise.”

A strong push, despite a controversial history

Those in favor of making daylight saving time year-round say there are workarounds to the dark mornings, such as starting school later so kids walk when it’s light out.

And they point to growing interest in ditching the clock switch in other countries, too. Canada’s British Columbia premier has said if Washington, Oregon and California eliminate it, he   would follow suit . In the   European Union , lawmakers voted this year to eliminate it; each country in the bloc will have until 2021 to choose between daylight saving time or standard time. Australia, too, has   debated   ending it.


Scott Yates, right, a tech start-up founder who is a leading advocate of the movement to get rid of the seasonal time change, testifies beside then-Rep. Peter Lucido in Lansing, Mich., in 2017. Michigan Legislature

Yates, the “lock the clock” activist, said his blog has gotten a record number of visits this year, and said he has had legislators from both sides of the aisle reaching out to him.

All of it has left him hopeful, he said, that America might “fix this thing.”

“This is such a completely nonpartisan issue, we might actually be able to get it done,” Yates said.


jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  TᵢG    last year

I like DST and would not have a problem if it were made perpetual.

1.1  devangelical  replied to  TᵢG @1    last year

I don't care. my life stopped revolving around the sun 5 years ago when I stuck my wristwatch in a drawer. the only appointments requiring my punctuality now involve a free meal.

1.2  Jack_TX  replied to  TᵢG @1    last year
I like DST and would not have a problem if it were made perpetual.

I would prefer it.

1.3  Freefaller  replied to  TᵢG @1    last year

Like devangelical I don't care, this far north (up to 18hrs of light or darkness depending on the time of year) neither DST or no DST would fix the problem

1.3.1  cjcold  replied to  Freefaller @1.3    last year

Spent some time in Northern Alaska and the constant daylight made me feel weird.

1.3.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  cjcold @1.3.1    last year

Yup.  I visited Scotland a few years ago in summer.  One night after dinner, I wanted to go for a walk.  My mom asked if I really wanted to go for a walk at 9:30 at night.  It was still pretty light outside, so yes, I did want to go for a walk at 9:30 at night.

1.3.3  Freefaller  replied to  cjcold @1.3.1    last year

It does make going to bed difficult, having thick dark curtains help

1.3.4  Freefaller  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1.3.2    last year
yes, I did want to go for a walk at 9:30 at night.

Lol when I was much younger I was posted way further north than now and it would still be sunny when the bars closed and kicked you out.  That's a strange feeling (but a much safer stumble home)

1.4  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @1    last year

I love switching back and forth. I like it when I suddenly lose an hour of daylight in the fall. It's like it prevents winter from sneaking up on us. Just rip that band aid off and deal with it. 

And then, in the spring, we get that hour back and all of a sudden the daylight lasts longer. It's like getting a present. It feels like putting winter and the worst part of spring behind us and jumping head first into summer. 

I hope it never changes, but it probably will. Hopefully after I'm gone. 

1.4.1  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @1.4    last year

My wife has about 20 clocks in our home (yes she loves the look of clocks) so I suppose that plays on my lack of desire to see the switch twice each year.  jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif

2  Tacos!    last year

People won't like this as much as they think. You'll have kids arriving to school in the dark, and that will go on for a few months. That will be the end of the experiment.

3  dave-2693993    last year

Not a fan of DST. No way, shape or form.


lady in black
4  lady in black    last year

Leave it the way it is. 

5  Enoch    last year

"Apparently criminals aren't early risers".

I did not see that one coming!

Enoch, Sleeping in.

6  Kavika     last year


6.1  Enoch  replied to  Kavika @6    last year

Dear Brother Kavika: Words of wisdom indeed.

Enoch, Cutting the top off a hot dog, putting it below the bottom and reaching for a longer bun.

6.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Enoch @6.1    last year

Raven Wing
6.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    last year

Love it! jrSmiley_81_smiley_image.gif

Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.1.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    last year


6.1.4  Enoch  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    last year



Just made wy whole day.

Enoch (In Anticipation)

Raven Wing
6.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @6    last year

Exactly! It really is stupid, serves no real purpose in this day and age.

Raven Wing
7  Raven Wing    last year

Not a fan of DST. However, as long as they get rid of the dang time changes I don't really care which time format they decide on. It's bad enough having to deal with the time changes across America, which I understand the reason for, adding the time changes twice a year is just one more very annoying issue to deal with. 

9  Kathleen    last year

I never cared for the time switching myself. I can remember my daughter standing at the bus stop in the dark.  

Raven Wing
9.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kathleen @9    last year
I can remember my daughter standing at the bus stop in the dark.

I hated driving home in the dark at 4:30 pm during the fall and winter and into the spring. Stupid. Just totally useless, and causing unnecessary increases in utility bills for Americans across the country by getting dark so early. 

9.1.1  Kathleen  replied to  Raven Wing @9.1    last year

Yes... that too. It’s really stupid to do this.

I think it’s time to leave the clicks like it is.

Raven Wing
9.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kathleen @9.1.1    last year

Either way it may not be as perfect as we would like it to be, but, at least we would have a stable time to deal with. There is no way we can get around the different time zones across the country, but, at least we won't have to deal with changing times as well every year. 

Enough is enough. jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

9.1.3  Kathleen  replied to  Kathleen @9.1.1    last year

I mean clocks... 

9.1.4  katrix  replied to  Raven Wing @9.1    last year
I hated driving home in the dark at 4:30 pm during the fall and winter and into the spring

Me too. I prefer having the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day, when I can actually do something.

I hate leaving for work in the dark and driving home in the dark. At least if we kept DST year round, I'd only have to leave for work in the dark but not drive home in it. In the dead of winter, it's already cold ...so having it light until 6 pm would be awesome.

charger 383
10  charger 383    last year

The day we have to fall is one of my least favorite days every year. Winter is dreary enough without making it dark earlier

10.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  charger 383 @10    last year

Agreed.  I hate needing headlights to drive home from work, knowing I won't be able to do anything outside when I get home, because it will already be dark outside.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
10.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  charger 383 @10    last year

I totally agree. I would rather have more daytime when it is useful (at the end of the day) then in the morning. Kids have to come home in the dark at the end of the day from after school activities, so I hardly think that is an argument. We would probably have  less seasonal depression, too. 

10.3.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @10.3    last year

I agree about the depression.  When I see dusk coming on an hour before I get off work, I just want to go home and hibernate.

10.3.2  MUVA  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @10.3    last year

You have get up earlier to make use of the day light in the morning sleeping to 7am is a waste of daylight.

10.3.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  MUVA @10.3.2    last year

I never sleep until 7 on a weekday.  My son catches the bus at 7, so I'm up at 6 or a little before.  In winter, it's still already dark by then.  If I'm going to get up in the dark anyway, I'd rather have the option to drive home when it's twilight rather than full darkness.

11  JohnRussell    last year

In my opinion this is a ridiculous debate. Keep it the way it is. It is no trouble at all to change clocks twice a year.  Daylight savings time allows for longer outdoor activity in the summer months, like Little League, picnics, swimming at the beach, golf, etc that would be curtailed or shortened with standard time.  Then in the fall and winter, standard time places sunrise at an early enough hour that it is light when people leave for school or work. 

People should find a better way to waste time than worry about such a non issue. 

11.1  katrix  replied to  JohnRussell @11    last year

It's not a non-issue. People die every year when we fall back.

And many of us leave for work or school when it's dark out anyway, in the dead of winter.

And for those of us who like being outside, having that extra hour in the evening makes late fall/winter/early spring a lot more interesting, because we can do more outside.

12  r.t..b...    last year

Living in AZ, where we don't turn back time (literally and figuratively) it is based on the heat. With gratitude.

Bob Nelson
13  Bob Nelson    last year

320 Europe is kinda crazy... unsurprisingly...

There are currently three time zones in the Union:


If they corresponded to the sun:

The EU Parliament has voted to end the general obligation to change Summer/Winter time, in 2021, with each nation making its own choice, including the choice of what time zone to be in. Popular opinion is massively against changing twice a year.

15  MrFrost    last year

The further North you go, the less effect a time change has. I am....roughly 90 miles South of Seattle. In the Summer, it's light out until 10pm and in the winter, it's dark by 4:30. 

I don't much care either way, to be honest. But I will say I have met Jay Inslee a couple of times, pretty cool guy, very down to earth. 

Bob Nelson
16  Bob Nelson    last year

Some day... if we don't destroy the planet first... we'll move to universal time: the same all around the world.

Buzz of the Orient
17  Buzz of the Orient    last year

No need to adjust your clocks or watches or the time on your cell phone in China.  The whole country from east to west year round uses Beijing time - no changes required.

18  luther28    last year

Ditch the switch? Call to go on permanent daylight saving time grows

Please do.


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