U.S. residents will turn clocks forward at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12. Some experts say that messing with time is not a good idea.
There is a consistent rise in fatal car crashes during the week after spring Daylight Savings Time, according to the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System. A 20-year study from 1996 to 2017, saw a six percent increase after the time change: there was no impact on accident rates in the fall’s DST.
The hour jump forward not only causes accidents, but also more injuries at work, and a reported 24 percent increase in heart attack visits to hospitals across the United States.
Another study found the risk of stroke is eight percent higher on the two days following the time change and the number of people hospitalized with atrial fibrillation, surges in the days following the springtime change, according to a 2020 analysis of 6,089 patient admissions at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
If there are more accidents, more heart attacks, why do people in the United States keep “playing with time?”
In 2018, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 7, which would have permanently adopted daylight savings time.
The way Proposition 7 was written, meant it also had to be passed by the state legislature (Assembly and Senate). It did not, because it did not make the end of the session deadline.
Even if California legislature had passed it, the final approval would still have to come from the U.S. Congress.
But, Arizona and Hawaii do not observe daylight savings time and do not change clocks twice a year.
Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from DST. If California voters had passed a bill in the state Legislature that says this state would go on standard time year-round, there would be no requirement for U.S. Congress to give approval.
In March of last year, the U.S. Senate passed the “Sunshine Protection Act,” which would have made daylight savings time permanent in the U.S.
The bill died in the House of Representatives because there was a disagreement over whether permanent time should be daylight saving or standard.
The disagreements were based on geographical location, not party affiliation. Those in tourism areas generally favored DST, those in rural farming locations favored standard time.
Groups such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation, and many other experts, preferred permanent standard time.
This month, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio reintroduced the Sunshine Protection act to make DST permanent. The bill would require approval from the Senate and the House, and the president’s signature.
The Senate bill includes co-sponsors from both parties. The logic, Rubio said in his statement, is simple: “This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid.”
There are currently 20 states, who have passed similar laws and initiatives similar to California’s Prop 7.
If the Sunshine Protection Act passes and is signed by Biden, it would apply to the states who participate in DST. States and territories that remain on Standard Time, year-round, would continue to do so.
Daylight saving time was first observed by the United States in 1918 and has been implemented and repealed in the last 100 years. It was created primarily to reduce energy consumption and promote commerce.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the current system of biannual clock changes between standard time and daylight-saving time.
President Nixon signed a bill in 1974 to make daylight saving time permanent for two years as a way to address the nationwide gas shortage.
President Ford signed legislation only nine months later that reinstated the switching of the clocks. His move was based on public approval.
A Monmouth University poll of about 900 people conducted in March 2022, found 61 percent of those polled want to stop the twice-yearly change and 35 percent wanted to keep the status quo.
“Hopefully, this is the year that this gets done,” Rubio said from the Senate floor on March 15.” And pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come.”
Daylight Saving Time is my favorite time of the year, up there with any holiday. It is a joy to drive home from work in the light and to have light to walk after dinner. Any car crashes that happen in the first few days of the switch from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time most likely come from losing that hour of sleep. That is why crashes do not increase when we switch back from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time and gain an hour of sleep. But the return to Standard Time can bring a degree of depression, especially when leaving work at the end of the workday only to face a dark sky. Oh, the joy, when we finally remain on Daylight Saving Time all year!
I also love Daylight Saving Time. However the more I read about how the different time changes affect our bodies, the more I think that Standard Time is better. Standard Time brings a bit of depression, because we change. However, Daylight Saving Time also presents major health issues with our natural circadian rhythms that seem to be more critical to children, teens and the elderly (60 and above). Whichever one, I hope that the state can agree on one and stick with it and NOT change unless there is a dramatic uptick in critical health issues due to the one that was picked.