It appears that just like clockwork, it is time for another hullabaloo around whether Utah should keep Daylight Saving Time or not. While the vast majority of those who answered a state-sponsored survey voted to eliminate DST, there are three reasons why this is less optimal than sticking with what we already have.
- You get far more usable daylight. In an attempt to make those who like DST look like they are stupid, we have heard that “they think DST gives you more daylight.” They don’t think it gives more daylight, but rather that it gives you more usable daylight. For the average person, what matters more – an hour of daylight from 5-6 am or from 8-9 pm? This is beneficial to businesses, neighborhoods, and families as it makes our communities more vibrant during the prime hours of the day.
- It doesn’t cause any lasting problems for your biological clock. I’ve seen several complaints about how it is detrimental to people’s biological clocks. It does impact them for a brief time, but to eliminate DST to prevent this harm would be the same as outlawing flights from Salt Lake or closing the border to Nevada so that we aren’t subject to the pernicious devilry of Pacific Time. While it may take a day or two to adjust, we adjust and adapt. Beyond that, in today’s increasingly interconnected world, people are frequently working schedules that conform to the time zones of major economic centers like New York, London, and Tokyo anyway.
- It is easier to get the right amount of sleep with Daylight Savings Time. With the invention of the electric light in the early 1900s, people began to stay up later. As a result, when it gets light early in the morning, it disturbs the sleep of the vast majority of Utahns. This can negatively impact our productivity and safety at work and on the road.
While I would love to see Utah on Mountain Daylight Time all year, logistically it would be a challenge. It would be the same as running on Central Standard Time year round. While we would line up with the Mountain Time Zone from March to November, during the winter we would be on the same time zone as Kansas. For industries that rely on logistics like airlines and freight companies (not to mention everybody who makes software or hardware that needs to know the time zone you’re in), it’s not an ideal situation. As a result, the two best options are to stay on Mountain Standard Time all year or to stick with the majority of the nation and observe DST. I would propose that we stay with Daylight Saving Time on its existing schedule and continue to reap the benefits thereof.