Ovation: Daylight Savings Time.
Daylight Savings Time started this morning. There are many who think the practice of changing our clocks should be done away with. In fact there proposed laws working their way through legislation in a couple of states in the U.S. that would keep daylight savings time year-round.
Daylight savings time has been used in the United States and in many European countries since World War I in an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. But there are many good reasons to extend it year round.
Saving lives. Darkness kills and it is estimated that delaying sunset by an hour could save more then 350 American lives each year by reducing traffic fatalities during the evening. Evening rush hours are believed to produce twice as many accidents as morning rush hours because nearly everyone is awake and moving about in the early evening hours while many are still asleep at sunrise.
Reducing Crime. Criminals thrive in darkness. Many types of crime, including robbery, assault, vehicle theft and juvenile crime, peak during the early evening hours once the sun sets. Corresponding rates for the same crimes are low during morning hours. It is believed that criminals are simply “night people” and we should take an hour away from their workday.
Saving Fuel. Because more people are awake during evening hours than early mornings, there is greater use of fossil fuels and electricity during the evenings so shifting sunlight to later in the day causes a reduction in the amount of overall energy that is used. (This was the primary reason that the U.S. moved to year-round daylight savings time during World War II and the 1970s oil crisis.)
Health. “Gaining” and “losing” an hour in the spring and the fall negatively alters people’s sleep cycles which impacts their health, coordination and alertness. This altered coordination and alertness leads to increased traffic accidents and even impacts financial markets on Mondays after the time changes.
So, even though we enjoy getting that extra hour of sleep a whole lot more in the fall than we enjoy getting up an hour earlier on that one Monday in the spring, it might be much better for everyone if we kept daylight savings time all year long. I do believe, however, that it’s important to be consistent across the nation or the confusion will outweigh any benefits that a change might bring.
What do you think? Keep daylight savings time all year or leave things as they are?
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