It’s been taking place for nearly as long as I’ve been alive and I’m having a hard time recalling a single conversation with anyone who was an enthusiastic fan. The subject is daylight saving time, which crops up twice every year in nearly the entire nation, and is then promptly forgotten again once everyone gets their internal clocks mostly readjusted. But perhaps this is finally coming to an end as ten states debate dropping the practice, picking a time and sticking to it.
States across the country are taking a dim view toward daylight saving time. And some say it’s time to turn back the clock — so to speak.
Lawmakers in 10 states have proposed legislation challenging what, for many, is a twice-a-year headache, and one they just endured again earlier this month. The new bills would mostly have states pick a time … and stay on that time…
Elected officials in 10 states have proposed legislation that would opt their states out of daylight saving time including Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.
The officials all cite different reasons from health to safety concerns. Some just consider the practice pointless and antiquated.
The “benefits” of daylight saving time are fairly dubious at best. It’s a trick we play on ourselves so that it will seem like there are more hours of sunshine after you get out of work or school for most of the year. In the winter the clocks are changed so the sun “comes up earlier” as you start your day. Of course, none of this changes the actual number of hours of sunlight or darkness… it just shifts the hours when most people are awake and working or playing.
Some of the arguments against doing this seem a bit overblown as well. Perhaps there are some studies which show that accidents increase when people’s sleep patterns are disrupted, but mostly it seems as if people just find it to be a big pain in the backside. I know that it hit me harder than usual this year and seems to be doing so increasingly as I age. (Yes, you may now get off my lawn.)
One of the biggest arguments in favor of sticking with this scheme is that changing back to a single standard would “create confusion” in commerce and transportation.
[Michael] Downing, though, says keeping track of a standard clock nationwide could become extremely difficult if each state starts adjusting its own time.
“Once individual states start to change their clocks in innovative ways, it’s no longer predictable to transportation, communication and broadcasters,” Downing said. “There starts to be real costs that start to accrue as a result.”
I agree that complications will increase if only a handful of states drop daylight saving time, but that gives the false impression that we don’t already have some confusion in the system as it is. Arizona never adopted the practice (aside from some of the Native American reservation lands) and yet people seem to travel there and do business. And the fact that we have multiple time zones in the country already provides for more than enough confusion. Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee are all broken up into sections which are in the eastern and central time zones. You can literally travel from one place to another without crossing a state line and have the clock change on you. But, again, we somehow manage to get business done without the world ending. People on the east coast know they have to wait a few hours in the morning before they can call a business in California and find anyone in the office. It’s a big country and we adjust to things like this.
This doesn’t need to be a federal issue. If the residents of some of the states want to stay with daylight savings, let them. But personally I’d rather just pick a time scheme and stick with it.