Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 5th at 2:00am. The upside is you get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, and every morning until your body’s internal clock gets used to it (probably by Wednesday, November 8). The downside: when you leave work on Monday evening, and every evening until March 10, 2024, it will be dark or getting dark. When you swing by the grocery store on your way home from work it will be dark. When you arrive home and have a few tasks to do outside you will do them in the dark or wait until the weekend.
During the Summer months there are roughly 15 to 16 hours of daylight in the Continental United States (13 hours in Hawaii and 24 in Northern Alaska). When you get home from work you have at least three hours of daylight left. In Winter there are only nine to ten hours of daylight. Depending on where you live in the U.S. your daylight hours are five to six hours less in Winter. So how does the U.S. government deal with this Winter daylight disparity? By moving the clock back an hour so Americans get one hour less daylight in the evening during a time of the year with reduced daylight. That makes little sense.
The idea of saving daylight in Summer has been around for more than 100 years and began in Europe before spreading to the U.S. At one time it was thought Daylight Savings Time would help farmers (because farmers are apparently too stupid to decide when to get up without the government messing with their clocks). It didn’t help farmers.
Last year a bill passed in the Senate unanimously that would have made Daylight Savings Time permanent. It languished and died in the House. Although 100% of Members of Congress agree that changing our clocks twice a year is stupid, the stumbling block is whether to make Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time permanent.
Most of the people I’ve talked to prefer Daylight Savings Time. Indeed, 79% of Americans approved of the change in December 1973 when Congress made Daylight Savings Time permanent in an earlier attempt. Support had dropped to 42% three months later and Congress voted to go back to changing our clocks twice a year in 1974.
The problem with permanent Daylight Savings Time is school kids. Supposedly it is harder for parents to get their kids up for school in the dark and harder for kids to walk to school in the dark. When Daylight Savings Time was made permanent in the 1940s as part of the war effort there were accidents in the morning involving kids injured while walking to school. Sleepy kids, dark streets and sleepy drivers were a bad combination. Yet, anyone who has had the misfortune to drive by a school in the early morning or late afternoon knows that very few kids walk to school anymore. Nowadays school-age kids either ride the bus or their parents pick them up and drop them off. Streets are better illuminated, and car lights are brighter now that in the early 1940s or early 1970s. The parents I’ve talked to are not concerned about early morning safety. Most have said they would welcome permanent Daylight Savings Time.
Not everyone is a fan of Daylight Savings Time. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine claims Standard Time is better aligned with peoples’ circadian rhythms. Purportedly criminals also welcome an extra hour of darkness in which to commit crimes. That is, some proponents of permanent Daylight Savings Time even claim an extra hour of daylight will reduce crime. What are we talking about in terms of sunrise in, say, mid-February 2024 under permanent Daylight Savings Time? Starting in the Southern Central Time Zone and moving North:
Sunrise February 15, 2024:
Oklahoma City 8:16am
Omaha, NE: 8:20 AM
Sioux Fall, SD: 8:27am
Fargo, ND: 8:33am
I’m having a hard time understanding why it’s better to get up and go to work (and school) in the morning light instead of getting up and going to work or school in the dark and coming home in the evening with an hour of light still left. What do you think?
The Hill has a good article explaining past attempts to make Daylight Savings Time permanent have failed.