Daylight Saving Time: A Modern Scourge

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As seen in the March 28 print edition

Dan Moroaica, guest writer

 As spring approaches, many Americans look forward to our annual tradition of Daylight Saving Time. “Spring forward, fall backward” is the mantra that enables us to have more daylight in the latter part of the day. I, however, have been fighting an uphill battle to abolish this outdated practice for years. My name is Dan Moroaica, and this is the story of my struggle against time-change.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is an archaic practice that needs to be abolished. I feel so strongly about this, that I started my own petition on whitehouse.gov

This petition will most likely never pass, but my goal is not immediate change, but rather educating the public. First, I would like to address a popular misconception that DST was created to help farmers have more sunlight during “productive hours.” This idea was attributed to Benjamin Franklin. While Franklin did write about DST, he was in fact, writing a satire about the French, and never actually meant it to be used in government. In fact, time zones as we know it were created by railroad companies to regulate deliveries, not by our government. Modern DST comes for the 1966 Uniform Time Act, and it was actually done to help Americans use less electricity and thus save money. You see, 60 years ago, Americans used more electricity at night than in the day (light bulbs, televisions, etc). As such, with more daylight during productive hours, there was less demand for electricity. However, the times have changed, as have Americans’ electrical habits. Today, there is almost no difference in the amount of electricity used during daytime vs. nighttime hours. With sprinkler systems, computers, cable TV, answering machines, and other conveniences; our electrical use has remained constant day to night. Thus, shifting to DST would NOT save money for the vast majority of Americans.

So, DST does not benefit in the ways that we supposed or expected. So, what does DST do? It kills. There are more car accidents and heart attacks the day after DST (due to sleep deprivation) than any other day of the year (heart attack risks increase 10-15% alone!). In addition, worker productivity goes down, and it is estimated that American companies lose approximately $1.7 billion a year, due to lethargic employees. In addition, some states and territories (such as Arizona, Guam, etc), do not use DST, so similar time zones have conflicting times, which again, causes inefficiency. I understand that MANY people love having sunlight during dinner, but nothing has ever prevented them from eating earlier, or waking up earlier. Time changes hurt our bodies, our economies, and our overall well-being! I understand that sticking to standard time all year long is not liked by everyone (who doesn’t love sunlight later in the day?) There is another solution. Some countries (such as France, Spain, Russia), have permanent DST. Thus, no time change, no negative health effects, no loss to the economy, and you STILL get your sunlight.

In conclusion, we must educate ourselves, and perhaps…one day…DST will come to an end! We can live happier, healthier lives. At the very least, perhaps people can learn how to pronounce it…it’s DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME, not SAVINGS…it’s time, not a bank account people.

Cartoon by AJ Parry
Cartoon by AJ Parry

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