Every fall, but particularly every spring, I hear people complain about changing the clocks. They say it’s time we just end daylight saving time.
The U.S. Senate just passed a bill to end Daylight Saving Time this week. The Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act unanimously.
It struck me as a surprise…not because political leaders were still capable of agreeing on anything unanimously.
But with inflation and all the uncertainty about Ukraine, I didn’t expect Congress to focus on that.
I have a love-hate relationship with daylight saving time. I love it in the fall, when we turn the clocks back and, theoretically, get an extra hour of sleep. I hate it in the spring, when we lose that hour.
No, I don’t really think a single hour one way or the other makes a huge difference. But to hear some people talk, losing that hour every spring seems like a disaster.
These days, my devices automatically reset the clock. But there are still plenty of clocks around the home that don’t. For a good week after the time change, I am still noticing a clock that didn’t change. That gets annoying.
But is it really time we end Daylight Saving Time over a little inconvenience?
First, let me clarify one point: the Senate plan doesn’t officially end Daylight Saving Time. It actually makes it permanent. What ends, technically, is the twice-a-year changing of the clocks.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll illustrates an obvious problem. Only 25% of Americans want to continue with this practice of changing the clocks. But for the remaining Americans who preferred one over the other, it’s not clear when they’d like to stop the switch. The poll found 32% preferred keeping Daylight Saving Time year-round. The remaining 43% wanted Standard Time to remain the permanent standard.
Congress standardized the practice of clock switching for the nation back in 1966. Before that year’s Uniform Time Act, local governments could set their own rules. You can imagine how chaotic that was.
The Washington Post notes that the nation tried permanent Daylight Saving Time for a single year: 1974. That decision came during the energy crisis. But we abandoned it. Why? People didn’t like to endure “longer winter mornings.”
That’s one of the issues that is still a stumbling block for some.
Supporters claim the change would help enable children to play outdoors later and reduce seasonal depression. The National Association of Convenience Stores opposes the change and said “we should not have kids going to school in the dark.” (I think we already have that problem for at least part of the year.)
If the House passes it, the plan calls for more clock changing until November of 2023. At that point, the change would be permanent.
So we have plenty of time to adjust — if it truly happens.