OUR VIEW - It's time Congress changes practice of changing time

How long did it take to change all your clocks this weekend? From watches, wall clocks and alarm clocks to those in DVD players, stoves and vehicles, it takes time to change time. And then there's the whole lost hour irritation.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

 

How long did it take to change all your clocks this weekend?

From watches, wall clocks and alarm clocks to those in DVD players, stoves and vehicles, it takes time to change time. And then there's the whole lost hour irritation.

This year, one more aggravation came with the switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST) the time change took place earlier than ever.

As part of the Energy Policy Act, which President Bush signed in 2005, DST now begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November at least for the next three years.

During that time, the U.S. Department of Energy will examine the impact of this change and then make a report to Congress, which retains the right to resume the pervious DTS schedule (first Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October) beginning in 2010.

The idea seems simple enough: DST involves moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. The practice, especially when tinkered with, creates problems.

In addition to forcing companies to spend money resetting automated equipment, the latest change puts the United States out of sync, time-wise, with Asia and Africa at least for a few weeks.

On April 1 (no fooling), when our "smart" clocks in watches and VCRs change on their own to be in compliance with the former start of DST, we'll be forced to change them manually. The same thing will happen in the fall, so in essence we'll be changing some of our clocks FOUR times a year.

Why do we "spring forward" and "fall back" anyway?

According towww.standardtime.com, which promotes ending the time change, the most common answers are "to help the farmers" and "because of World War I ... or was it World War II?"

Indeed, the wars were the reason, primarily to save fuel by reducing artificial light usage. The Web site claims many farmers oppose DST.

Today, the motive seems to be energy savings.

Not everyone is on board with the time change, though. DST is not observed in Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Navajo Nation does participate in the DST, even in Arizona, due to its large size and location in three states.

We propose falling back, not to standard time but to 1973.

That was the year in which DST was observed all year, instead of just the spring and summer.

An increased number of morning school bus accidents that year caused Congress to repeal the year-round policy in 1974. However, studies since then have revealed a jump in traffic accidents on the Monday after clocks are moved ahead perhaps because of the lost hour of sleep.

If DST became permanent, then on Dec. 22, the shortest day of the year, the sun would rise at 8:53 a.m. and set at 6:05, instead of 7:53 and 5:05, respectively. On the days before and after, the sun rises earlier and sets later. Frankly, we find more uses for an extra hour of light after work and school than during.

We support the rallying cry ofwww.standardtime.com: If we are saving energy, let's go year-round with DST. If we are not saving energy, let's drop it!

And we add one request: No matter what we do, let's get everyone under U.S. sovereignty on the same time system.