It’s that time of year again, the second of our biannual time changes. Officially, November 3rd marked the end of Daylight Savings Time. With its departure, the debate on its relevancy has come up like it does year after year. So, to ask the age-old question, do we still need Daylight Savings Time?
The year was 1784 when Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of Daylight Savings Time
during his stay in Paris. In an essay entitled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” Franklin proposed waking earlier to more efficiently use sunlight in order to save money on the overusage of candles. Then, in 1895 a New Zealand entomologist, George Vernon Hudson, proposed a two-hour shift forward in October and a two-hour shift back in March. Though the idea never took into effect, Hudson’s idea is sometimes considered to be the foundation of modern Daylight Savings Time. Even through all this, the first implementation of real Daylight Savings Time was not until World War I.
Daylight Savings Time was intended to help conserve fuel during World War I. So, why do we still have it in 2013? There are mixed effects of Daylight Savings Time. Proponents for DST are becoming few and far between. Even still, California Energy
says that 25% of electricity is used for lighting and small appliances. Of this energy, a good amount is consumed in the evening. Thus, DST should cut down on our energy costs by giving us an extra hour of daylight at night. But, according to a recent "Time Magazine" article
, DST actually leads to a 1% increase in residential electricity!
Pennsylvania State University
said that retailers are often proponents of DST because people are more likely to spend money when they have an extra hour of daylight after work. While this may be true for the majority of the U.S., it’s most likely not true for businesses in Hawaii and Arizona, the two states which do not follow DST. So, local businesses which sell to customers in other states are actually inconvenienced by DST.
Another controversial claim regarding DST is its influence on car crashes. A 2007 RAND Corporation study
proved that DST led to a 10% drop in car crashes. Another study conducted in Finland between 1981 to 2006, published in the 2010 “Journal of Environmental Public Health,” found no discernable correlation between DST and car accidents.
Many maintain that DST is no longer a necessity of modern society. DST has very few pros in comparison to its numerous cons. As a high school student who already struggles with sleep deprivation, DST is not helping. In fact, in an article
by ABC News journalist Steven Reinberg, it has been proven that our internal clock never adjusts. Then again, maybe Victory Borge is right, and we shouldn’t “mind going back to daylight savings time [because] with inflation, the hour will be the only thing [we] saved all year.”