End the Semi-Annual Tyranny That Is Daylight Saving Time!

Like millions of others, I dread Monday morning. With the loss of an hour on the clock early Sunday, getting up on Monday will feel akin to a mild torture. For reasons that no longer may sense, if they ever did, Congress adopted a uniform Daylight Saving Time effective in 1967, and has tinkered with it a few times since then. Beginning in 2007, in the United States, and excepting those few states and regions that do not impose it on their citizens, DST begins on the first Sunday in March and does not end until the first Sunday in November. That means that we spend about eight months on DST and about four on Standard Time. By definition, wouldn’t you think that a “standard” time would be the majority, or all, of the time we spend?

Reasons for adopting DST ranged from agricultural, e.g., giving farmers more sunlight at the end of the workday; to recreational, also giving folks more sunlight at the “end” of the day; to conservation-friendly, supposedly saving electricity by requiring less artificial lighting during recreational or work hours.

There are studies debunking the conservation-based reasons and even common sense would suggest that folks who get up in the dark are turning on their lights as much as folks who are preparing dinner or reading afterward are. Air conditioning and refrigerators pretty much ignore the clock, as do computers and television sets. All in all, there is scant evidence that DST saves a significant amount of energy, especially when weighed against the detrimental effects on health, which include an increase in heart attacks, traffic accidents, and other negative impacts. (Thanks to Joseph Stromberg at Vox.com for providing the links to these studies.) Stromberg makes a persuasive argument that DST should be made permanent. Frankly, I don’t feel strongly about staying on DST year-round or moving to “Standard Time” permanently. It’s the switching between them that causes problems for all of us.

Let’s ask Congress to get rid of the semi-annual torture NOW!

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