Daylight Savings: Fall Back—Now

By MARIE BUCKLEY FISH

Every spring we complain about Spring Forward. A spate of statistics prove, or claim to prove, that moving the clocks ahead has multiple negative effects. Then there’s the story of the wise Native American telling us you can’t cut a foot from the top of the blanket to sew it to the bottom and make it longer.

We have a few days of carping about the lack of value in the process and the known detriment, then we shrug our shoulders and say no more about it until the next spring when we repeat the process.

As we move on toward the time when we are expected to Fall Back, we need to have a sensible, reasonable discussion about the pros and cons of the so-called Daylight Savings. This was instituted in 1920 as a means of increasing productivity. We have nearly 100 years of docile participation that we can look back on to determine if we have achieved that objective.

With this history in hand, we can list any or all of the benefits of springing forward and can balance them against the negative results.

If the positives outweigh the negatives, we can accept it and move on. I might even learn how to adjust the clock on the dashboard of my car before I just buy a new car. If there are no real benefits, if this is a colossal failure, let’s agree to fall back in the fall, then remain on Standard Time permanently. If we wait until spring, it’s obviously too late.

If a few businesses or segments of the population feel they benefit from getting up an hour earlier for six months of the year, what is preventing them from making that choice on their own? A business has a great deal of flexibility as to when it opens to the public. To a lesser extent, schools can have flexibility in when they schedule their first morning classes.

Many stores and manufacturing plants are open 24 hours a day. Schools and colleges have morning and evening classes.   

Moving the clock forward has become easier now that our cell phones and computers are programmed to change the time automatically. How do they do this? Would they have to be reprogrammed if we stop moving forward every spring?

We don’t want to jump into making a change that will affect all of us without calm and deliberate study on the benefits or detriment to any segment of our population. That is why we should begin those deliberations now before the next year’s calendars are printed.

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