Let's put a permanent end to Daylight Saving Time

Monday, November 5, 2007

Feeling extra rested today?


If not, perhaps you're like those of us who woke up an hour early today, our bodies not yet adjusted to the switch back to standard time. There's not much point in having an extra hour of sleep if your mind is ready to get up and start the day.

The switch came later this year than previously, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President Bush on Aug. 8 of that year, that pushed the start of Daylight Saving Time ahead three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and delayed the ending until the first Sunday in November.

Polls indicated that most people favored extending Daylight Saving Time, citing increased time for outdoor recreation such as golf, tennis and theme parks. Farmers who work part-time during the day have an extra hour to work after arriving home, and officials say the United States should save 100,000 barrels of oil a day, since, during Daylight Saving Time, people turn on lights later in the day, and lighting for evening sports events can be turned on an hour later.

But not everybody is happy with the changes. The airline industry isn't happy, either, as it costs millions of dollars to adjust schedules, and many computers and electronic devices didn't know about the shifting schedule.

And, the old codgers among us who have difficulty adjusting to an abrupt change of one full hour in our schedules, as do young children and pets, who don't understand while meal time is an hour later today than it was yesterday.

And, school children who had to wait for the bus in the dark last March may be returning home in the dark if they stay after school for extra curricular activities.

We don't have any proof, but we have a feeling that much of that 100,000 barrels of fuel saved is wasted in lost productivity among workers struggling to adjust to new schedules.

Maybe it's time to end the experiment, first proposed as a joke against the Parisians in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin.

Let's join Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa, and do away with Daylight Saving Time.

Individual businesses and other entities where sunshine makes a difference can set summer or winter hours to suit themselves. And leave the rest of us alone.

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