Special Report: A Permanent Solution to the Daylight Savings Time Drag

Daylight savings time confuses all of us. We know it’s kicks-in sometime in the spring and then out again in the late fall. Or is it early winter? Most of us have to think about whether we lose or gain an hour before remembering that — duh — we spring forward and fall back.

By the way, we’ve been doing the whole daytime savings time thing since 1918. Weekly Industry News didn’t look it up, but we suspect the practice was to help farmers who needed more daylight to harvest crops.

All that clock changing — experts in psychology say — is bad for our mental health. So Congress has ended the practice of bouncing around the clock, permanently. What  we will soon have, instead, is daytime savings time all the time.

The new law is the Sunshine Protection Act. It was passed in March of last year and after decades of clocks going back and forth, we’ll have permanent daylight savings time starting in November of this year.

Here are the positives — or so the promoters of the idea contend:

  • The extra hour of daylight keeps our homes warmer longer because we’re awake longer in the evening
  • A decade ago, estimates said carbon emissions in the U.S. will drop by 10.8 metric tons per year — that’s good
  • Energy demands will drop since most of us are still asleep at sunrise and that’s not true at sunset — also good
  • People feel safer outdoors when it’s light and it’s light longer with the permanent daylight savings time — can’t argue that one
  • Murder, rape, robbery happen more at night than during hours when it’s light — a frightening statistic, but with more light — good
  • And ending on a positive note, people can be outside longer — that’s very positive for mental health

Those are what promoters are calling the benefits. But a lot of us hate daylight savings time and would prefer we just stay on regular old, ordinary time. Here’s an example. The country tried permanent daylight savings time during the reign of President Richard Nixon. In 1973 he pushed Congress into making it ongoing as a response to the 1970s energy crisis.

The move was very unpopular with the people and in 1973, Congress voted to go back to the regular fall-spring thing and President Gerald Ford signed it into law. Time — no pun intended — will tell if the new grand experiment will actually work.

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