Would a permanent daylight saving time be a good thing? It depends on who you ask
People across the country agree against switching back and forth, but making a decision on a permanent change to daylight saving time or standard time feels like a never-ending debate.
On March 15, the Senate unanimously voted on a bill that would end the bi-annual “springing forward” and “falling back.” The bill would make daylight saving time permanent, appeasing many who oppose the time change and upsetting those who prefer standard time.
After it was announced that the bill was passed by the Senate — long a priority of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — Americans took their opinions online to debate the permanent time change. Proving that no singular approach to a permanent change will make everybody happy.
Even a popular author, John Green, reacted to the conversation by responding to his brother's tweet about the frustration of debating a choice that involves two very similar options.
Others participated in the conversation by sharing their opinions about the passing of the bill. Many shared strong opinions about either side and some said they didn't care what happened as long as clock switching ends.
So here’s the plan: get all 50 states to agree to follow the results of a nationwide referendum. Then put to a vote: year round standard time or year round daylight savings. Whichever prevails we go with it. Stop the switching. 👍— Atticus Finch (@Atticus59914029) March 13, 2022
Can we all agree that changing the time is terrible? I honestly don't care if we stay on "standard time" or "daylight savings time" - I just want the time to stay the same all year long.— Dr. Kisha Supernant (she/her) (@ArchaeoMapper) March 14, 2022
In addition to the internet debate, an Economist/YouGov poll from 2021 shows 63% of adults in America support ending bi-annual clock switching. The poll also found that more adults would prefer permanent daylight saving time instead of standard time.
Advocates for permanent daylight saving time say the extra hours of daylight later in the day could benefit the economy, promote active lifestyles, limit traffic accidents, and prevent crime during early-evening hours.
However, there are still plenty of people who oppose it. Some arguments include that it would create darker mornings, which would impact morning commutes and force parents to drop their children off to school in the dark.
Health experts also argue against permanent daylight saving time. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine claimed in a public statement that current evidence supports year-round standard time because it aligns best with human circadian biology. They also say it has been linked to increased risks of cardiovascular events, mood disorders, and vehicle crashes.
Regardless of the stated health risks and varying opinions, people seem to prefer more hours of daylight in the afternoon — and therefore prefer permanent daylight saving time.
But, according to a University of Washington law professor Steve Calandrillo — who testified before the House last week — and an article by Dan Diamond for the Washington Post, any permanent time change requires a balancing act.
“If we move to permanent daylight saving time, you’re going to create more morning darkness. That will make it hard to wake up and negatively impact people who have to go to work or school early,” Diamond said. “I’m sensitive to that. But human nature is we want to live our lives in the afternoons, in the evenings. We stay up late. We want to go out.”
Undeterred by the debate, some people joined the conversation online but from a different viewpoint. Many people shared their frustration that the bill was even considered at a time when many other issues could be addressed.
It’s objectively funny that people are like “please help us please, we are dying, we can’t pay our bills, we are housing insecure, we can’t afford groceries” and politicians are like “big news we got rid of daylight savings”— Alex Peter (@LolOverruled) March 16, 2022
The online conversation and debate continues, but movement on the bill does not appear imminent. NPR’s Joe Hernandez reports House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office said there are no immediate plans to vote on daylight saving time.
To put a permanent end to clock switching, the bill will need approval from the House and President Biden’s signature, before it can become law.
Then the real debate can begin.