As a school bus driver, when I heard about the bill on Capitol Hill trying to move Utah into having daylight saving time year-round, I contextualized how it would affect both how I do my job and my students’ safety. I have heard from most people about how this move would allow us to have the extra hour of light in the summer, but I don’t hear about what it would do in the winter.
With the change, we will be waking up earlier in the morning. This means that in the winter, where it’s now mainly high school and middle school students walking to school in the dark and predawn hours, we will now have elementary students in the state walking to bus stops or to school in the dark.
The Wasatch Front delays the sunrise by about 15-20 minutes. On Feb. 13 I took note of the time of the sunrise. The almanac said about 7:26 in Midvale, but I noted that it didn’t really start until 7:45 a.m. MST. This bill would make the sunrise at about 8:45 on some days, long after all students would be in school. It would be even later closer to the solstice.
Elementary students don’t have as much experience walking to school, they are also smaller and harder to see. I have seen that they are less likely to pay attention to their surroundings and run into the gutter next to traffic. The bill being considered would put the lives of our children at greater risk to accidents on the road.