"During the 1973 Energy Crisis, year-round Daylight Saving was attempted nationwide. It ceased because school bus accidents dramatically increased in the dark, early morning hours!"
- Rep. Kohring
As we once again change our clocks on this day for Daylight Saving Time (DST), we must take a serious look at whether it remains necessary.
When traveling from my home on business to Lower 48 states, Iíve found it a major inconvenience to change clocks due to DST. Why must we leap ahead and fall back every year? Who thought up this almost comical little national creature?
Benjamin Franklin initiated the idea in 1784 while in France. Over a century later, DST was intended to save energy during the First World War. At warís end, it was immediately repealed because of numerous complaints. Its admitted purpose was "convenience of commerce." In 2005, commerce no longer justifies DST. During the 1973 Energy Crisis, year-round Daylight Saving was attempted nationwide. It ceased because school bus accidents dramatically increased in the dark, early morning hours!
Today our modern society is dependent on accurate clocks for everything from T.V. schedules to jets and electrical production. Businesses using certain electronic machinery are inconvenienced because they have to reset their equipment twice a year, a major effort and cost.
Farmers may appreciate extra daylight during summer evenings, but this backfired too. "Farmers often dislike the clocks changing mid-year," Canadian poultry farmer Marty Notenbomer notes. "The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating for us." This is not to mention problems with milking cows twice daily when clocks are changed.
Ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Jews have complained because they recite penitential prayers in early mornings, with DST wreaking havoc on their schedules.
"A writer in 1947 wrote, I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as thereís some agreement about it, but I object to being told that Iím saving daylight when my reason tells me Iím doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication Iím wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight, I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of Daylight Saving, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves." (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)
Why keep Daylight Saving Time? Itís time to repeal what we clearly donít need.
Vic Kohring is a six-term member of the Alaska State House of Representatives, serving Wasilla and the Mat-Su.