At 2 a.m. this Sunday, we are to turn our clocks ahead one hour for the start of daylight saving time.
For the next eight months, this will give us more daylight in the evenings, and I happen to like that.
I like it so much that I agree with those who contend it is time to make daylight time permanent. Stop the flipping and flopping and lock it in.
The story goes that an old Indian asked why time is changed twice a year. After it was explained, he said, “Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.”
That well-known humorous anecdote is only one of many about the idiocy of continuing a practice that began in the early 1900s in Germany as a measure to save fuel by reducing the need for artificial lighting during World War I.
The idea caught on in other parts of Europe and eventually around the globe, although there has never been universal adoption of daylight saving time. In fact, more than 100 countries around the world have never used it, preferring “standard time.”
In the United States, the utilization of DST was an on-again, off-again proposition embraced by some state and local governments and shunned by others. It was such a mess for the transportation industry that the federal government stepped in and adopted the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Even then, states were able to opt out.
As of 2020, the states of Arizona and Hawaii, as well as the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, The Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands did not use DST.
Whether it’s daylight time or standard time, let’s lock into one and stop monkeying around with the clock. Personally, as I said earlier, I prefer daylight saving time.
A news release Tuesday from the office of U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith announced that Mississippi’s junior senator has cosponsored legislation to make DST permanent across the land.
The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, would eliminate twice-a-year clock adjustments in states that now participate in DST.
I’m all in. I hope a majority of the members of Congress will be, too, but it is doubtful despite a fairly strong argument by proponents.
“The public safety improvements, economic benefits and the wellbeing of the American people are all excellent and credible reasons to embrace year-long daylight saving time,” Hyde-Smith said in the news release.
“I know the agricultural sector in Mississippi and across the nation desires this change,” she added. “I believe the Sunshine Protection Act would give us an immediate and long-term boost after a terrible pandemic year and a very dark winter.”
Hyde-Smith’s release championed potential desirable effects of making DST permanent, saying it would:
• benefit the economy, according to a study by JP Morgan Chase which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2% to 4.9% when clocks turn back.
• benefit the agricultural economy, “which is disrupted disproportionately by biannual changes in time by upsetting the synergy between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners.”
• reduce car crashes and car accidents involving pedestrians, because better aligning daylight hours to drivers’ standard work hours increases visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research. In addition, auto collisions with wildlife would be reduced by up to 11% “by shifting normal traffic patterns to an hour off from nocturnal wildlife’s behavior.”
• benefit health “by reducing the risks for cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression,” the latter of which is a real impact of the long, dark days of winter, in particular
• reduce childhood obesity and increase physical fitness, because studies indicate children are more active during DST. The Journal of Environmental Psychology said “DST increased pedestrian activity by 62% and cyclists’ activity by 38% because of additional daylight.”
• reduce the number of robberies by 27%, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution report, due to more daylight in the evenings
• reduce energy usage, also savings are said to be minimal
Where do I sign up?
Hopefully, Sunday will be the last time we ever have to move the clock hands an hour.