Should We Turn Back Time?
Daylight Saving Time is loved by some, hated by others and tolerated by most. Arizona and Hawaii residents do not have to think about it. These states are exempt from the time change problem. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 made Daylight Saving Time a federal law that exempts only the states that voted to keep Standard Time. The problems created by Daylight Saving Time outweigh any benefits of energy savings, if those savings really exist. There is little or no evidence of energy savings from the time changes. The time has come to set the clock and leave it there. It is time to end Daylight Saving Time.
Standard time was made necessary by the United States and Canada railway schedules of 1883. Daylight Saving Time was used in World War I to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. After the war ended the law was repealed. Daylight Saving Time became an option that a few states continued to utilize. World War II brought Daylight Saving Time back into practice, only to be discontinued when the war was over. Daylight Saving Time supporters believe the energy and money savings are real. Even Congress passed a law to reinforce Daylight Saving Time as a critical energy saver. The annual time changes are based on the premise of saving energy and money.
However, most studies on this subject have found that energy consumption increases rather than decreases. In “Time to Fall Back From Daylight Savings Time”, William Shugart II
2 presented the results of a study from the University of California that “…showed a small but nevertheless statistically significant increase in residential electricity demand during the months when Daylight Saving Time was in effect…” resulting in a” tax of more than $8.6 million statewide when all of the Indiana households in the counties that operated on Daylight Saving time were included.” Similar studies have been done showing mixed results on the issue. The studies that showed lower electricity use showed higher gasoline use due to the extra daylight people had to participate in outdoor activities. Either way, while there seems to be no real energy savings resulting from Daylight Saving Time, there are consequences, great and small .
Parents complain that both spring and fall time changes present problems for children. Problems range from sleep loss adjustments in spring to dark early morning bus stops in fall. One important health issue is the lack of afternoon sun time for outdoor play. Mothers of small babies find that their time schedule changes but the time that their babies sleep do not change, resulting in stressful situations for the mothers.
Other examples of minor issues in standard or daylight saving time happen with businesses, such as, realtors showing houses after normal work hours dealing with lack of lighting in empty homes with no electricity. Television stations suffer lack of viewers during long summer afternoon hours. Payroll and time scheduling for manufacturing businesses can be costly. On time change days, one shift has to work an hour longer while another shift is shorted an hour. While this is a minor consequence, nationwide it creates a lot of unhappy people for that day and on the following payday.
Another type of business example is farmers, whose schedules are directly affected by sunrise. The time change puts them at a disadvantage due to sleep loss and the adjustment of their livestock. Marty Notenbomer, a Canadian poultry producer notes “The chickens do not
adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by, so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating...