Tick tock: Time to quit changing clocks

  • Saturday, March 16, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

The time’s they are a changing – and people are tired of it. Therefore, it’s past time for the state legislature to approve a law keeping our clocks on Daylight Saving Time.

They are considering bills on that this session.

In other words, spring forward now and forever. Father Time should stay on DST, and standard time should never be the standard again.

We’ve felt this way for some time, but a column by Steve Calandrillo, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law, in the Daily Herald of Everett March 10 just added fuel to the fire. It says there are a number of reasons to switch to DST.

First, lives would be saved. The change provides an extra hour of sunlight at night. Research shows that darkness in the evening is deadlier than in the morning. The evening rush hour is twice as fatal as the morning, and fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian crashes increase threefold when the sun goes down.

A study by Rutgers researchers says that 343 lives per year could be saved by moving to year-round DST, while the opposite would be true under year-round standard time.

Second, crime would decrease. Criminals prefer to work in the darkness of night. Crime rates are lower by 30 percent in the morning to afternoon hours. A 2013 British study found that improved lighting during evenings could reduce crime by 20 percent.

Third, energy would be saved. What? Isn’t that the reason behind time change in the first place? It did help back in the day. But now having more sun in the evening requires not just less electricity to provide lighting, but reduces the amount of oil and gas required to heat homes and businesses when people need that energy most. Fourth, commerce and recreation flourish in sunlight. Americans are less willing to shop in the dark, and it hinders recreation. These activities are far more prevalent in the early evening than in the early morning. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as most outdoor recreational interests favor extending DST.

Fifth, and this is the one people complain about the most, we hate changing our clocks forward and backward each spring and fall. We’ve been doing it forever, so we don’t see the harm. But apparently the biannual clock switch is bad for health and welfare. It wreaks havoc with people’s sleep cycles. Heart attacks increase 24 percent in the week after the U.S. “springs forward” each March. There’s even an uptick during the week in November when the clocks “fall back.”

The state Senate and House both passed bills on this measure Tuesday. State residents could vote on the measure in the November election.

California, Oregon and Idaho are working on similar legislation.

The bill requires approval from U.S. Congress to amend federal laws allowing states to remain on DSL. President Trump voiced his support in a tweet.

The only real argument against the change would be later sunlight in the morning, which would mean kids going to school in the dark. But that already happens much of the year anyway.

It’s time for the legislature to turn off the light switch on standard time forever. Let’s give them a hand if they come through on this before midnight strikes on this session.

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