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Berginski: Seriously, End Daylight Saving Time

By Staff | Feb 26, 2016

The North Dakota Legislature should take a cue from California and have a bill to end Daylight Saving Time.

Just kidding. But in all seriousness though, either daylight time needs to be the new standard time across all time zones (which some states really don’t want to do), or the practice of “spring forward, fall back” needs to be eliminated entirely.

I mean, taking the term literally it is absolutely stupid. Everyone knows that simply changing the times on their ovens and microwaves don’t affect how much sunlight is shown in a day.

The commonly held belief about Daylight Saving Time was that it was put in place to benefit farmers. Except it really wasn’t. The modern daylight savings time was thought up by an Englishman in the early 1900s, and it was originally* implemented by the Germans during World War I as a fuel-saving measure, before we did*.

In fact, the agriculture industry was opposed to daylight saving time because the sun, not the clock, dictated farmers’ schedules. This led to its repeal. But then it got brought back in World War II for a while. In 1973, President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Act due to an Arab oil embargo. In 1986, a law was passed mandating DST start at 2 a.m. the first Sunday in April and end at 2 a.m. the last Sunday in October. Then in 2007, the law changed again for DST to start three weeks earlier and end a week later. We’ve been stuck with it ever since, and it’s cost us an hour that could’ve been spent sleeping.

Even back in the early 20th century, people thought DST was impractical. Fewer businesses stayed open later in the evening, which meant that most people went to bed and woke up earlier than they do today. Now there are numerous sources of energy and they’re all being used to heat and power our homes, cars and electronic devices.

The state of Indiana adopted Daylight Savings in 2006, and they found that residential energy use increased by 1 percent during Daylight Savings. An extra hour of sunlight does nothing for a constantly-running air conditioner in the summer, or for someone who leaves his or her phone charger plugged into the wall regardless of whether or not he or she is charging his or her phone. In 2008 a U.S. Department of Energy study found that daylight saving only reduces energy consumption by 0.03 percent.

An argument for keeping daylight saving time in place was that there would be more time for recreational activities to take place. Granted, but that would still mean energy being used by concession stands to keep drinks cold and hot dogs hot.. That would mean people burning gasoline to get to recreational activities.

There are also studies that show an increased risk of car accidents and illnesses within a week of “spring forward”-especially heart attacks, as a 2012 University of Alabama-Birmingham study reported. Losing that extra hour of sleep is not good for a person, and this is coming from a guy who at one time could probably go through an entire 12-pack of Mountain Dew in a day and not bat an eyebrow.

Remember the first paragraph where I mentioned California? The person who introduced the bill received complaints from senior citizens and caregivers in his district that the time changes have adversely affected their lives.

On the plus side though, people are apparently 7 to 27 percent less likely to be robbed due to the time change. But that seems to be the only real upside to keeping it.

Daylight saving time starts on March 13 at 2 a.m. this year, and ends at 2 a.m. on November 6. Honestly, it should end permanently after that.

*EDITED FROM PRINT EDITION

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