Spring forward forever



Liberty Stuart, News writer

Permanent daylight saving time passed in the U.S. Senate

On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would permanently implement daylight saving time starting in the spring of 2023. Called the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, the passing of this act would mean that once the new year begins, the clocks will spring forward one final time and end any further clock changes.

Daylight saving time was first introduced in Germany as a way to preserve electric power and energy during World War I. On April 30, 1916, they moved the hands on their clocks forward an hour until the following October when they went back to standard time.

It was not until March 19, 1918, that the United States implemented it. The first execution of daylight saving time began on March 31 and lasted for seven months. After it ended, it was repealed in 1919 and did not reappear the next year.

It was not until 1942 that a similar, year-round version, was eventually reestablished. To again save power, this time for WWII, daylight saving time was referred to as “war time,” and was in effect until 1945.

After 1945, there was not any law regarding time changes, but some places still observed daylight saving time. The Uniform Time Act was enacted in 1966 and created the foundation for the daylight saving time that is still in use. The act was created in order to establish uniformity across the United States, since the use of time changes varied heavily, however state legislature could be passed to be exempt from it.

In 1966, daylight saving time lasted from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. It was not until 2007 that our current cycle of beginning on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday of November was introduced.

As of 2022, 19 states have passed legislation to permanently implement daylight saving time, which is why the nationwide legislation is coming into question.

While it has been unanimously approved in the Senate, the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 must still pass in the House of Representatives and then be signed by the president. U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee which has authority over the daylight saving time issue, said that the house currently has “a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be.”

Supporters of permanently implementing daylight saving time say it would allow people to be out later and reduce seasonal depression. Mary Boland, student teacher at Omaha North High School, is one of the supporters of implementing it.

“I think it’s disruptive to our everyday lives, logistically, when it actually happens,” Boland said, “I personally don’t like to have it be dark on my drive home from work and not have any light to enjoy after work, and I don’t see the real advantage to the light in the morning being earlier.”

The supporters of permanent daylight saving time also argue it would decrease the amount of car crashes, especially crashes involving wildlife, that typically tend to rise during the time change.

According to a study by Current Biology, the switch from daylight saving time to standard time in autumn causes peak traffic volumes to shift from before sunset to after sunset, leading to a 16% spike in deer- vehicle collisions. About 2.1 million deer-vehicle crashes happen in the U.S. every year, and a permanent move to daylight saving time would lower the amount of crashes by about 1.7% the study said.

Alternatively, people against the act argue that getting rid of daylight saving time would increase the amount of seasonal depression, learning loss and physical health problems. They also say the removal would disrupt our internal clocks.

“Waking at 7 a.m. already feels to young people like waking at 5 a.m. With permanent daylight saving time, it would feel like 4 a.m. This would put a serious strain on teen mental health. The result would be, among other things, shortened sleep for a population that is already severely sleep-deprived and a potential uptick in rates of depression, when teens are already struggling with elevated levels of depressive symptoms and suicidal thinking,” wrote “Generation Sleepless” authors Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright in the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post, the House is waiting to make a decision until the Department of Transportation reports on the effects a permanent change would cause. The analysis is due on December 31, 2023, which makes it unlikely that any new decisions regarding daylight saving time will occur before 2024.