Home Berlin Letters & Opinions Why daylight savings time all year might be a good idea  

Why daylight savings time all year might be a good idea  

One of the most welcoming things about spring is the return to Daylight Savings Time, when, like clockwork, we exchange dark mornings and nights for later sunrises and sunsets. 

The practice goes back to the late 19th century and is still controversial today. Legislation introduced in 2022 to have DST all-year round has languished in Congress, according to NPR, but its main champion, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, has not given up the fight.    

All states but two – Hawaii and Arizona – observe daylight savings time, NPR notes. The practice has its detractors, just not the ones we think. It was long believed daylight savings time – the correct term is actually daylight saving, not savings – was conceived to give farmers an extra hour of sunlight to till their fields. 

In actuality, according to history.com, farmers have long been opposed to both springing forward and falling back because the changes interfere with harvesting.

Permanent daylight savings time, according to NPR, is thought to have benefits, from reducing crime to conserving energy to improving health by supporting the body’s circadian rhythms. Economists argue that more light in the evenings encourages people to shop and spend money. And DST lasts about eight months – from March through November- while standard time is about six. 

Doctors, however, argue that standard time – falling back and having more light in the morning – is better for good health because our internal clocks are better aligned with getting light earlier in the morning, resulting in better sleep cycles.

So what do Americans prefer? More than half of them, according to the New York Times, want to switch to DST, by a margin of 10 to 20 points. Yet there are states that have introduced their own bills to stay on standard time, which they can do without Congress.

The Times’ argument against ST is that it is more dangerous, because afternoons and evenings are darker and can lead to more vehicle accidents and fewer opportunities to be outdoors after work or school. Even collisions with deer and other wildlife are more common during ST.

The number of fatal traffic accidents at night – whether by wildlife or anything else – is three times as high as during the day, the Times found. There are also seven times more pedestrian accidents in the evening. The newspaper came to the conclusion that daylight savings time all year round would prevent more than 300 fatal pedestrian and vehicle accidents a year. Even robbery rates could go down.

Getting back to what Americans prefer, a poll taken by the Economist/YouGov last year showed that six in 10 – 62% – would like to stop changing their clocks altogether. Half wanted to stick with DST, just under a third – 31% – prefer permanent standard time and 19% had no preference at all.

Whatever you prefer, keep in mind that we again switch clocks on Sunday, Nov. 3, and revert to standard time. Until then, watch out for deer. 

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