Daylight savings time should be standard

(Graphic by Lena Yang)

On Nov. 6, the United States will be making a decision that will ultimately change the course of their country.

But two days earlier, on Nov. 4, another change in North America will occur.

The transition from daylight savings time into standard time, which gives us an extra hour of daylight in the early morning, and the sun sets an hour earlier in the afternoon.

With these increasingly dark and dreary months as fall transitions into winter, all of us could use a little bit more daylight.

Especially in those few recreational late afternoon-to-early evening hours we get after the drudgery of work or school has finally passed. The problem is the way the current system is set up.

For seemingly inexplicable reasons, that extra hour of daylight is reserved for the early morning when most of us are still asleep, groggily waking up or caught in traffic on the way to work or school.

Rather than giving us an extra hour of daylight at a time when most of us would appreciate it, we are given an extra hour of time when only a select few who wake up early, such as farmers and elderly people, would appreciate it.

Even many in those demographics I am sure would understand and accept such a change, with the understanding that it would be to the benefit and happiness of a greater number of people.

I firmly believe that daylight savings time should be the year-round time.

Some may go a step further and even advocate changing the time so we get an hour more in the evening during winter.

I understand that switching the clocks back and forth is inconvenient and messes with sleep schedules.

So, I believe that having daylight savings time year round, rather than gaining an additional extra evening hour of daylight in the wintertime would be the most adequate and practical solution.

Ever since its inception, there has been much debate over daylight savings time, with farmers being among its most radical opponents.

I say, the debate should not be over daylight savings time, but over standard time.

Allowing ourselves to be held hostage by irrational and inconvenient norms, just because the word “standard” is attached to them is an unfortunate problem.

This is an example on the failure of humanity to oppose problems that clearly inconvenience us.

Numerous studies have shown that traffic accidents are reduced during daylight savings time, with U.S. government estimates of accident reductions ranging from around 0.7 per cent to two per cent, including a five per cent drop in accidents fatal to pedestrians.

This may be due to the fact that evening rush hours are typically busier than morning rush hours.

There is also evidence to support the conclusion that energy costs go down during daylight savings time.

Since dark evening hours are typically the peak hours for the usage of indoor residential lighting, a U.S. energy department report showing a 0.5 per cent reduction in energy costs when an extended daylight savings time period was enacted.

Historically, much of the greatest opposition to daylight savings time has been among farmers, some of whom have tried ardently to abolish it.

If farmers are inconvenienced, they can adjust their schedules to wake up an hour earlier, rather than causing an upset to the vast majority of the population.

It is unfair that a minority in one particular profession, even if they are a productive and essential one,  can hold so much sway.

Standard time may have made sense in the late 19th century when we were an agricultural-based society. But today, in our modern era of a goods and services dominated economy, we need to re-think the status quo.

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