*The earliest known reference to the idea of daylight saving time comes from a purely whimsical 1784 essay by Benjamin Franklin, called “Turkey versus Eagle, McCauley is my Beagle.” It was first seriously advocated by William Willet, a British Builder, in his pamphlet “Waste of Daylight” in 1907.
Over the years, supporters have advanced new reasons in support of DST, even though they were not the original reasons behind enacting DST.
One is safety. Some people believe that if we have more daylight at the end of the day, we will have fewer accidents.
In fact, this “benefit” comes only at the cost of less daylight in the morning. When year-round daylight time was tried in 1973, one reason it was repealed was because of an increased number of school bus accidents in the morning. Further, a study of traffic accidents throughout Canada in 1991 and 1992 by Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia before, during, and immediately after the so-called “spring forward” when DST begins in April. Alarmingly, he found an eight percent jump in traffic accidents on the Monday after clocks are moved ahead. He attributes the jump to the lost hour of sleep. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Coren explained, “These data show that small changes in the amount of sleep that people get can have major consequences in everyday activities.” He undertook the study as a follow up to research showing that even an hour’s change can disrupt sleep patterns and “persist for up to five days after each time shift.” Other observers attribute the huge spike in accidents on the first Monday of DST to the sudden change in the amount of light during driving times. Regardless of the reason, there is no denying that changing our clocks has a significant cost in human lives.
While some people claim that they would miss the late evening light, a presumably similar number of people love the morning light. And projects, postponed during the sun filled summer, will be tackled with new vigor when the sun sets an hour earlier each day.
Congress appears to have felt we were not having enough of a difficult time so in 2007 they passed a law starting Daylight Savings time 3 weeks earlier and ending it one week later. This cost US companies billions to reset automated equipment, put us further out of sync with Asia and Africa time-wise, inconvenienced most of the country, all in the name of unproven studies that claim we save energy.