Daylight Saving Time. Should it stay or should it go? [Hub Debate]

DSTIt’s a topic that seems to come up every year in the Utah legislature – can the state please, PLEASE get rid of Daylight Savings Time?! Bill after bill has been introduced and year after year, those bills just die on the vine.

Earlier this year, though, Representative Ronda Menlove ran a bill asking for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to facilitate discussion and hold a public meeting to get input. I admit, I thought it was just a nice gesture to some of her constituents and had no expectation that anybody really cared about this issue.

Boy, was I wrong.

Utah Survey

GOED set up a survey (go take it here and scroll to the bottom of the page) that has gotten over 19,000 votes in less than three weeks and almost ten THOUSAND comments. Uh, apparently people care.

The vast majority – over 70% – say they want to stay on Mountain Standard Time. 15% who want to stay on Mountain Daylight Time, for more daylight in the evening, year=round. Only 13% want to stay on the current schedule of switching clocks twice a year.

Scanning some of the 10,000 comments, there is overwhelming support for NOT changing the time.

Here’s a sample:

It seems that the issue is about the change, not what time it is. I am a high school teacher and the spring change is hard for my students. But we need the longer daylight hours in the evening for recreation, farming, yard work, energy consumption, etc. Why not stay on DST year around? High schools start around the 7:30 A.M. time. We are in the dark in the winter no matter which way we go. Let’s put the daylight when we can best use it.

Altering light and time affects the body’s chemistry. Consistency builds stability which reinforces strength in minds and bodies. Something all society needs.

I’m getting tired of changing the clocks. All it does is make me tired!!!!

Just leave it alone like AZ. Its hard for shift workers to adjust.

As an average citizen there’s absolutely no benefits to using daylight savings. It messes with my children’s sleep schedule and creates stress where there does not need to be any. It does not save money on electric bills or provide any other benefit.

It is as simple as nature. Your BIO-CLOCK gets messed up every time you have to change to daylight savings or go off of it. Either GO on daylight savings or STAY on mountain standard time…JUST DON’T CHANGE FROM ONE TO ANOTHER.

There was once a purpose for daylight savings time. During World War 1, daylight savings time was implemented to save fuel. It was not reinforced until World War 2. It had a purpose when it was implemented, but this issue is no longer relevant. The body functions on a certain sleep pattern and daylight savings time interferes with this. This causes work productivity to decrease after daylight savings time. We need to join Arizona and Hawaii and say goodbye to wasting time and energy on something that is no longer relevant.

First and foremost I believe that it is inappropriate for a change in an act of nature to be considered a right for legislature or any government group to determine. We shouldn’t mess with natural events or ocurrances. Personally, the changes always disturbs my biological clock for a period of time afterwards and it has a negative effect on many aspects of my daily life. The change during the summertime is especially difficult for me as in order to maintain my day time working hours causes me to be in bed around 9:00pm in order to get a decent sleep period. At that time it is still light outside and it is very difficult to go to sleep because it doesn’t feel right trying to sleep while the sun is still up and in effect people are still very active and making noise that interferes with my trying to sleep as well.

I like having the extra long summer nights. Always have,always will

 

History

The history of Daylight Savings Time goes back more than 100 years, to a New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects. He wanted more daylight in the evening hours and presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift. In England, William Willett, an avid golfer, was dismayed he had to cut his rounds of golf short at dusk.

In 1916, Germany and its WWI allies were the first to adopt Daylight Savings Time in an effort to save coal. The US followed suit in 1918. However, according to the omniscient Wikipedia, it was repealed in 1919.

Congress repealed DST after 1919. President Woodrow Wilson, like Willett an avid golfer, vetoed the repeal twice but his second veto was overridden. Only a few US cities retained DST locally thereafter, including New York so that its financial exchanges could maintain an hour of arbitrage trading with London, and Chicago and Cleveland to keep pace with New York. Wilson’s successor Warren G. Harding opposed DST as a “deception”. Reasoning that people should instead get up and go to work earlier in the summer, he ordered District of Columbia federal employees to start work at 08:00 rather than 09:00 during summer 1922. Some businesses followed suit though many others did not; the experiment was not repeated.

It did not become universal in the United States until the 1960’s.

 

Advantages/Disadvantages

Proponents of Daylight Savings Time generally argue that it saves energy, promotes outdoor leisure activity in the evening (in summer), and is therefore good for physical and psychological health, reduces traffic accidents, reduces crime, or is good for some types of businesses.

Opponents argue that actual energy savings are inconclusive, especially as our energy needs and energy consumption patterns have changed dramatically over the last 100 years. They also point to data that shows an increase in heart attacks, say the change is hard on children in their families and at school, point to an increase in traffic accidents as the change-overs occur and that it harms certain types of businesses like outdoor theater and even fireworks shows. A 2007 study in California shows virtually no energy savings.

Public Input

In addition to taking the survey linked above, there will be a public meeting thisr Thursday, July 10 from 10:00 to 11:00 am at the Clark Planetarium, 110 S 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in. Should we keep Daylight Savings Time, or is it an idea who time has passed?

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