Let the sun shine and the clocks stay set

Daylight saving time should be implemented year round.

You might have noticed a markedly different feel in the air this week. Temperatures have risen, the snow is melting, and there is a distinct, spring-like aroma in the air. Certainly the warmer air temperature has contributed to this feeling, but it is the arrival of daylight saving time which has truly made our days brighter. Now, instead of watching the sun depressingly sink beneath the horizon at 6 p.m., we have a whole extra hour to enjoy its rays. But this shift isn’t just psychological. There are benefits to adjusting our schedule to daylight saving time, and our country should consider removing the outdated shift of time from our calendars and permanently move to daylight saving time.

The history of daylight saving time begins with World War I. The clocks were moved forward near the end of the war to more accurately align people’s waking hours with those of the sun. The rationale was that this would reduce energy use, and permanent DST was again implemented during World War II. During the oil embargo of the ’70s, DST was again changed. The United States observed DST for eight months in 1974 and six months in 1975. When Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it increased daylight saving time by one full month, and energy savings were again cited as the reason for this switch.

So why do we bother switching back at all? A lot of it has to do with farmers. The farmers don’t appreciate rising and working for hours in the dark early morning, so we engage in this back-and-forth battle for daylight.

The benefits of switching to DST were observed and studied when we switched to DST for extended periods in the ’70s. With more people active during daylight hours, there has been shown to be reductions in traffic accidents and crime. Some farmers won’t be happy, but the vast majority of the country would appreciate an extra hour of light in the evening.

Our current tradition of switching the clocks is outdated and serves no real purpose for our society. We should make the change to DST permanent to save us the confusion, and to save us a little more light.