I like to bring you my opinion on some local opinions on Sunday. Today, however, the Portland Press Herald site is down again (are they close to folding or what!) and the Bangor Daily News is just plain boring (I’m sick of addressing the same old opinions on gay marriage. I’ve said it enough for everyone to get how I feel). So instead, a rant in C: Daylight Savings How We Love Thee.
Those of us who live in the upper third of the country look forward to daylight savings time like an addict anticipating that next fix. It’s bad enough that we have to put up with snowfall measured in feet and temps cold enough to make a penguin grab a jacket. It has to get dark before dinner too. By February I’m craving sunshine so badly I’d sell my dog for some honest to God rays of pure light. You can imagine how exciting it is when it gets dark at 7 or 8 instead of 6. On that basis alone, it boggles my mind why we don’t stay on Daylight Savings Time all year long.
The benefits to having year long DST far outweigh the drawbacks. If you have a hard time getting up in the morning, rising when it is still dark may be difficult. Parents may lament having their children wait for the bus before the sun comes up. After getting out of work at 5 and having it dark for a few months you probably don’t care about Junior standing under the streetlight for the bus.
The plus side to DST? The psychological impact has already been heavily stated, so there’s no need to go there again. There are other health risks to the change. Heart attacks are more likely to occur during the weeks after a the change over. This change in the bodies biorhythm can lead to increased rates of suicide as well. Why not just leave DST all year then?
The extra hours of sunlight give a boost to the economy.
Retailers, sporting goods makers, and other businesses benefit from extra afternoon sunlight, as it induces customers to shop and to participate in outdoor afternoon sports. In 1984, Fortune magazine estimated that a seven-week extension of DST would yield an additional $30 million for 7-Eleven stores, and the National Golf Foundation estimated the extension would increase golf industry revenues $200 million to $300 million. A 1999 study estimated that DST increases the revenue of the European Union‘s leisure sector by about 3%.
TV ratings and theater revenue tend to decrease during DST, but if people are getting outside a little more often then perhaps our obesity rates will drop.
The public safety also increases during DST. Traffic accidents decrease because of the extra hours of daylight driving time. A study has shown accident fatalities could be reduced by 195 and pedestrians killed by 171. Violent crime rates were shown to have decreased 10% to 13% in the D.C. area when in DST time.
Why are we still going through this. Fall back, spring ahead. Over and over. Hey government! Save us all the hassle and bouts of seasonal depression. Keep Daylight Savings Time all year round.