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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Daylight Saving Time may soon become permanent in the US. what could happen here

Daylight Saving Time may soon become permanent in the US.  what could happen here

The US Senate approved the Sunshine Protection Act in March 2022, with the goal of making daylight saving time permanent in November 2023. If that happens, America will never “spring forward” or “fall back” again.

Following the Senate vote and recent hearings in the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce — at which I testified — the subcommittee is now looking into the issue. The full House of Representatives must vote in support of permanent DST before the bill goes to President Biden’s desk for signing.

In my research on DST, I’ve found that Americans don’t like Congress messing with their clocks. However, moving towards DST throughout the year makes a lot of sense.

In an effort to avoid biennial time changes in the spring and fall, some DST critics have suggested that a return to permanent standard time would benefit society.

But research shows that DST saves lives and prevents crime. About 20 states have passed bills to make DST permanent, and the Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act to make those laws effective—as no state can unilaterally engage in DST on different dates from the rest of the country. cannot go.

If Congress eventually passes the measure to permanently phase out all clocks, I see five ways Americans’ lives would improve.

1. Lives will be saved

Simply put, darkness kills – and the darkness of the evening is far more deadly than the darkness of the morning.

Evening rush hour is twice as deadly as morning rush due to various reasons. Far more people are on the road, more alcohol is in the blood of drivers, people are in a hurry to go home, and more children are enjoying outdoor, uncontrolled play. Fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents increase threefold as the sun goes down.

DST brings in an extra hour of sunlight in the evening to mitigate those risks. Standard time has the opposite effect, moving sunlight toward dawn.

A metastudy that reviewed all available research on the subject demonstrated that 343 lives could be saved per year, mainly by moving to DST throughout the year, in a reduced vehicle on pedestrian accidents. Morning would be riskier, but afternoon/evening would be far safer.

2. Crime will decrease

Darkness is also a friend of crime. Increased sunlight exposure in the evening has a far greater impact on crime prevention than in the morning. This is especially true for crimes committed by juveniles, which peak after school and in the early evening hours.

Criminals like to do their work in the dark of evening and night. The crime rate is 30 percent lower in the early morning hours, even when it is still dark in the early morning hours before sunrise.

A 2013 British study found that better lighting in the evening can reduce crime rates by 20 percent.

3. Will save energy

What many people don’t know is that the original rationale for the creation of the DST was to save energy – initially prioritizing energy for US troops during World War I and World War II, and then later in 1973 OPEC oil during the crisis. When the sun comes out later in the evening, the peak energy load is reduced.

Having more sunlight in the evening not only requires less electricity to provide lighting, but also reduces the amount of oil and gas needed to heat homes and businesses, although this can increase cooling costs in the summer. . DST resulted in the US saving 150,000 barrels of oil in 1973, helping to counter the effects of OPEC’s oil embargo.

Most of the people in our society wake up and use energy in the evening when the sun sets. But a large proportion of the population is still asleep at sunrise, resulting in significantly reduced energy demands.

This argument prompted some in California to recommend permanent DST in the early 2000s, when the state experienced repeated power outages and rolling brownouts.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has estimated that the US would have seen energy savings of more than US$4 billion and a reduction in carbon emissions of 10.8 million metric tons if we enacted sustainable DST more than a decade ago. .

4. Avoiding Clock Switch Improves Sleep

Critics of DST are right about one thing: Biennial clock switches are bad for health and well-being.

It wreaks havoc with people’s sleep cycles. Heart attacks rise 24 percent in the week following America’s “springs forward” in March. There is also an uptick during the week when the clocks “fall back”.

If that’s not bad enough, a 2000 study suggests that the major financial market indices NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ both averaged negative returns on Monday after the clock switch, possibly due to disrupted sleep cycles.

Critics of biennial clock switching sometimes use these points to argue in favor of permanent standard time. However, the same sleep benefits are also available under year-round DST. Also, Standard Time does not offer the energy-saving, life-saving, or crime prevention effects of DST.

5. Entertainment and Commerce Thrive in the Sun

Entertainment and commerce flourish in the daylight and are interrupted by the darkness of the evening.

Americans are less inclined to go out shopping in the dark, and catching a baseball in the dark is also not very easy. These activities are far more prevalent in the evening than in the morning, so sunlight isn’t nearly as helpful.

Not surprisingly, the US Chamber of Commerce and organizations dedicated to outdoor recreation expanded DST. Brick-and-mortar stores, especially family-owned businesses, suffered during the pandemic. Having more daylight to shop helps reverse the trend.

A note about the drawbacks of DST

It is important to note that some research highlights the downsides of DST.

The first concern is that DST causes sleep disturbances.

But most circadian rhythm dysfunction is created by biennial clock shifts. Either Permanent Standard Time or Permanent DST solves that problem.

Standard time may be better for overall circadian rhythms because the sun sets and rises earlier; However, a change in people’s evening activities and routine is unlikely in response.

Earlier sunsets didn’t force people to go to bed earlier, as it was 150 years ago before lightning. “Prime time” is 8 to 11 a.m. for a reason, not 5 to 6 a.m.

Other research has linked living in western parts of time zones – which have longer evening sunlight – to an increased risk of cancer than those living in eastern parts. The increased cancer risk may be partly explained by lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise in different parts of the time zones.

Plus, Americans make decisions all the time that we know have health risks, like eating red meat instead of broccoli and drinking alcohol or soda instead of water. We do this because we enjoy the benefits of those products despite their risks. This is similar to sun exposure and later bedtime; We enjoy and benefit from them, even though we know they carry risks.

To address another downside – the dark of winter mornings – any switch to permanent DST may be combined with efforts to start school later, as long advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Has been.

This would be a good idea for children’s circadian rhythms and mental health, regardless of DST or standard time. Child safety measures for dark mornings, such as crosswalk lighting and more crossing guards, will also help.

Time will tell if the US adopts permanent DST, but either way, we must consider all of its benefits versus all of its costs.

This is an updated version of a story originally published on March 4, 2019, and updated on March 3, 2020.Conversation

Steve Calendrillo, Professor of Law, University of Washington.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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