In the interest of playing God with time and saving Americans from the inconvenience of resetting their (mostly self-setting) clocks twice a year, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday to make daylight savings time permanent.
Congress tried this once before in the energy crisis of the 1970s. It was disastrous.
“The sun rose at 8:27 AM on January 7, 1974,” The Washingtonian reports. “Children in the Washington area had left for school in the dark that morning, thanks to a new national experiment during a wrenching energy crisis.”
The early-morning darkness “quickly proved dangerous for children: A 6-year-old Alexandria girl was struck by a car on her way to Polk Elementary School on January 7; the accident broke her leg. Two Prince George’s County students were hurt in February. In the weeks after the change, eight Florida kids were killed in traffic accidents.”
Some of the deaths may not have been directly attributable to the time change, but politicians will nonetheless be blamed. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, should have studied his own state’s history before championing the bill.
Nearly 80% of Americans approved of permanent daylight savings time in December 1973, but support plummeted to only 42% after three months of dark mornings.
Permanent daylight savings time is a terrible, even deadly idea. And it’s bad for our health.
The Washington Post reports that “Sleep experts say Senate has it wrong: Standard time, not daylight saving, should be permanent.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement cautioning that the move overlooks potential health risks associated with time changes. Experts say that standard time is more closely associated with humans’ intrinsic circadian rhythm. Further, studies show that disrupting that rhythm has been associated with increased risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and depression.
George Mason University Economics Prof. Charles Blahous did a little research and observes that permanent daylight-savings time would mean sunrise in:
- Omaha: 8:49 AM.
- Minneapolis: 8:51 AM
- Salt Lake City: 8:51 AM
- Detroit: 9:01 AM
- Indianapolis: 9:06 AM
In another sage post, fiscal and budget expert Jonathan Bydlak replies to Chuck: “I don’t understand why they can’t just pass a law that mandates longer daylight instead. That way it wouldn’t get too dark in the evenings, and the sun also would come up earlier in the mornings. Washington is so out of touch with the wishes of the people.”
After a flood of op-eds and columns this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that advancing the Senate bill in the House is not a priority right now. Good move. Let’s put this bad idea back to sleep.