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If we’re going to keep daylight saving time, it should at least be a little fun

SHARE If we’re going to keep daylight saving time, it should at least be a little fun

Dan LaMoore works on a Seth Thomas Post Clock at Electric Time Company, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Medfield, Mass.

Elise Amendola, Associated Press

Here’s an idea: Instead of forcing everyone to lose an hour of sleep by changing the time at 2 a.m. on Sunday, make the change happen at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Then, presto! It’s suddenly 5 p.m. and time to start the weekend.

If we’re going to keep this twice-yearly fiasco going, let’s at least make it a little fun. As it is, the internet age won’t even let us use the excuse that we forgot to set the clock back. We wander blurry eyed to work on Monday and spend two or three days in a funk.

It’s almost as agonizing as watching legislative gears churn through something that ought to be a no-brainer.

Yes, Sen. Marco Rubio’s annual bill, which would put the entire nation on daylight saving time permanently, now has a bunch of bipartisan co-sponsors. That’s a good sign. After all, this isn’t one of those gridlock issues like immigration reform or health care.

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart has a similar bill in the House.

And yes, 16 states, including Utah, have passed laws that say they will switch to permanent daylight saving time as soon as Congress makes it legal to do so. 

But when your clocks change this Sunday and you lose an hour of precious sleep, you will have little reason to believe you’re any closer to doing so for the last time. 

This is the “honey-do” list of public policy decisions. Like that squeaky door hinge or stuck window latch, we never seem to get around to fixing it.

Just look at the European Union. People there thought they had the problem licked. A couple of years ago, the European Parliament passed a law requiring every member nation to decide whether to keep daylight saving time or standard time. Then, the final time change was to be on March 28, 2021. End of story.

But then the pandemic happened. Members of the European Council, comprising heads of state, never got around to ratifying the law. Instead, they passed it onto the EU’s executive branch and asked for a study of potential impacts, and the executive European Commission passed it right back. As London writer Feargus O’Sullivan reported for Bloomberg.com, Brexit hasn’t helped, either, because the U.K. has no plans to give up the time change.

If the E.U. changed, it might have put pressure on the United States, but no.  

I could list all the real, honest-to-goodness reasons why we ought to stop monkeying with the clocks. Rubio did so in the press release hyping his bill. He cited research showing that the time change leads to increases in car accidents, including those involving pedestrians. It increases health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. It reduces economic activity, as workers suffer from a lack of sleep. 

Polls show most people want to stop it. A couple of years ago, an AP-NORC poll showed about 70% of Americans wanted to stop changing, but they were almost equally divided as to whether to keep standard or daylight saving time.

But we’ve heard all this before. 

The real problem is that by next Wednesday you will have forgotten all about this … until November, when a 2 a.m. time change actually lets you sleep an hour longer. And who could complain about that?