Daylight Savings Time
all year 'round

Posted 03.26.07

The switch from standard to Daylight Savings Time is always a mixed blessing. On one hand, in this climate we welcome longer days and the promise of more sunshine. But we "lose" an hour's sleep in the spring, a disadvantage to our already sleep-deprived population.

And all those digital clocks to change…

If you're anything like me, your finger will slip on at least one of those devices, so you'll skip ahead two hours and have to go through the entire cycle again to achieve the desired results.

I've heard that this year, because the change occurs a couple of weeks earlier, problems are anticipated with computers, other devices which are set to change the time automatically, and that this could pose some security risks.

So why don't we stay on the same time year round?

Daylight Savings Time was the brainchild of Benjamin Franklin. Originally designed to assist farmers to snatch an extra hour to work their fields, it has never been universally adopted, resulting in a hodge-podge of confusion.

More than a billion people in seventy countries observe some form of Daylight Savings Time. But it isn't just most of Saskatchewan and part of British columbia that remain stubbornly on standard time.

Mexico didn't adopt it until 1996, the same year most of the European Union joined the movement.

Russia's eleven time zones are always one hour ahead of standard time. In the summer, Russians turn their clocks ahead one more hour, and most countries close to the equator remain on standard time all year.

You would think that the global economy and threats of terrorism would lead everyone to adopt one time standard. There are compelling reasons that new standard should be what is now considered Daylight Savings Time.

This is far from a new idea.

In 1984, James Benfield testified to the U.S. Congress that extending DST had many advantages. Although children would board school buses in the dark, mornings are not as dangerous as evenings.

"By contrast, in the afternoon, many children are riding bicycles and enjoying unsupervised outdoor play," he told Congress. "More drivers will have alcohol in their bloodstream in the afternoon than in the morning. The rush hour is longer and more irregular in the afternoon. And drivers are tired and in a hurry to get home."

Tom Cove, President of Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association International, agreed, saying kids will play outside after school rather than watch TV. With growing childhood obesity, this is a compelling argument.

I'm happy to hear that starting this year we will finally extend DST until the first week of November. Finally, kids will have an extra hour of light on Halloween. And the following weekend, we'll all get an extra hour's sleep.

But why should we change back to Standard Time at all? Who can we lobby to keep DST year round, everywhere?

On March 11th Daylight Savings Time began. Ironically, the second week in March was National Sleep Awareness Week.

Barbara Floria Graham is the author of the 20th anniversary edition of Five Fast Steps to Better Writing and Mewsings/Musings. Her website: www.SimonTeakettle.com

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Floria Graham/Log Cabin Chronicles/3.07