No More Need For Daylight Saving Time
Every spring and fall we go through the completely unnecessary annoyance of putting the clock forward or back by an hour so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less and vice versa. This practice began in the United States during World War I in an effort to conserve incandescent light bulbs so that production of war materials could continue on an almostround the-clock basis. Tinkering with the hours of daylight continued in World War II and now, 70 years later, is standard operating procedure in most parts of the country.
While it may still be in effect, as far as we can see, Daylight Saving Time (DST) has long outlived its usefulness. Modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly from those in existence when the U.S. first adopted Daylight Saving Time, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited and often contradictory.
Although adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, the extra time causes problems for farming, evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun. And although extra afternoon daylight tends to bring about a reduction in traffic fatalities, the effect of lengthened hours of sunshine on health and crime is less clear.
The spring and fall clock shifts present other challenges. Software can often adjust computer clocks automatically, but whatever benefits are due to the switch can be limited and error-prone, particularly when DST rules change. Moving clocks forward or backward complicates timekeeping and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment and sleep patterns. (All we know for certain is that whether we put our clocks and watches ahead or back by an hour, we lose sleep, which tends to be in short supply in this business to begin with.)
We cannot, for the life of us, see why the spring forward-fall back foolishness is still in existence. The adjustments necessary to make the change to and from Daylight Saving Time are, to put it mildly, a giant pain in the back of everyone’s lap. The benefits, if any, are negligible. It is more than time to put the spring forwardfall back practice to rest. Let the hours of daylight lengthen or shorten according to nature’s plan, as they have since the earth first orbited the sun.
One of the few good and lasting adages humans have bestowed upon the world is the aphorism, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Standard time works very well as it is. We should consign our feeble attempts to “fix” it to the scrap heap of ideas that have outlived their usefulness once and for all.