Time to Rub Out Time Change
Now that nearly three months have passed since we “sprang forward,” I’ve finally adjusted to the time change and am starting to feel better. With dust out of my eyes and cobwebs cleared from my brain, I hope that Congress does the right thing and puts an end to clock changes.
The Senate has taken the first step. In March they unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make Daylight Savings Time (DST) year-round.
The vote took place the week I was fighting the bleary-eyed sleepiness that always accompanies the clock shifts that upset everyone’s biological system.
If we are fortunate, the House of Representatives will follow suit. As it is, if adopted the change won’t become permanent until late 2023, in deference to airlines and others that set their schedules far in advance.
Just imagine the bill passing, though. That would mean only one more spring forward to destroy our sleep cycles. It’s enough to make millions like me smile.
Of course, as soon as the Senate acted, the boo birds came out of the woodwork. Their complaints could be phrased as: “We tried this once before in 1974 and nobody liked it.”
Well, I remember 1974. When some folks complained about students going to school before daylight, the powers that be panicked and pulled the plug.
For me, it wasn’t that bad. It’s not that I was madly in love with an extra hour of daylight in the evening. I just rested for a while, secure in an (albeit temporary) end to eternal clock shifting.
As the Sunshine Protection Act’s lead sponsor, Sen. Marcio Rubio of Florida, put it, we no longer need the disruptions of changing time twice a year: “And one has to ask themselves after a while, ‘Why do we keep doing it? Why are we doing this?’”
To echo that thought, Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan—who introduced a House version of the proposed change last year—also talked about the necessity of ending this antiquated practice.
“There are enormous health and economic benefits to making daylight savings time permanent,” Buchanan said.
Keeping Time Stationery
There are those who don’t mind switching between standard and daylight time. But their numbers are shrinking. This story chronicled how 48% favored doing so in 2015, but the number shrank to 28% in a poll taken in 2021.
“It appears that more people now think that the concept of switching times between standard time and DST is becoming outdated,” said the online version of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. “This may be partly due to the computer revolution and a host of other modern-day reasons.”
Now, support for an unchanging clock is divided. The Almanac pointed out that only 31% of respondents favor year-round DST, while 40% like standard time.
Each side makes powerful points. But I think the fact that a combined 71% want the same time year-round—whichever form that takes—shows the wisdom of choosing a constant system.
Besides, previous legislation allows states to opt out of DST, which Hawaii and Arizona already do. If others choose to live with standard time, so be it. Their clocks will always be the same.
To me, there is no more salient argument toward keeping the same time than what happens every fall. You’d think people would show up early for church and other events when they have an extra hour of sleep. But just as many run late then as they do in the spring.
That says people need certainty on time.