Current Daylight saving time policies are insane

Daylight saving time (DST) is this insane practice whereas twice a year, clocks are moved forward or backward by an hour. It is still widespread throughout North America and Europe.

As a kid, I was told that this was meant to help farmers. But farmers have traditionally opposed daylight saving time (though they no longer do). The real argument is that daylight saving time saves energy.

Does it really save energy? This is disputed somewhat:

We estimate a cost to Indiana households of $9 million per year in increased electricity bills. We also estimate social costs of increased pollution emissions between $1.7 to $5.5 million per year. (Kotchen and Grant, 2011)

What is not disputed is that the change to daylight saving time increases significantly heart attacks:

Overall, we found an elevated incidence ratio of 1.039 (95% confidence interval, 1.003–1.075) for the first week after the spring clock shift forward. The higher risk tended to be more pronounced among individuals taking cardiac medications and having low cholesterol and triglycerides. (Janszky et al. 2012)

But if daylight saving time part of the year saves energy, wouldn’t year-long daylights saving time saves even more? Many people think so (e.g., see Ahuja and SenGupta, 2012).

The objections to a permanent switch to daylight saving time comes from parents who fear that dark morning might increase accidents involving kids. Yet the evidence that daylight saving time is bad for students does not stand.

Thus, Calandrillo and Buehler conclude that it is time to switch year-round daylight saving time:

(…) year-round daylight saving time would save hundreds of lives annually by decreasing motor vehicle and pedestrian fatalities. Furthermore, extra light in the evening hours reduces criminal activity and results in energy savings from decreased peak electricity demand. Finally, year-round daylight saving time would eliminate the negative effects caused by the current spring and fall time changes. (…)

I see no evidence in favor of the current system. It is insane.

If you are American, please sign the petition to stop this insanity.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

6 thoughts on “Current Daylight saving time policies are insane”

  1. Daylight Saving Time is one of those things that has never been convincingly explained in any of the near forty years I’ve been alive. No one I’ve met likes it, yet it’s something everyone goes along with because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.

    Speaking as someone who has to manipulate time with a computer, I can tell you that I would gladly welcome the demise of DST.

  2. The GMT/BST debate always strikes me as a completely false spectacle. It is the unthinking obedience to “Captain Clock” that should be called into question.

    If you don’t like dark mornings, why not show up later at work?


    Scientific evidence shows that teenagers learn better from 11am also? So why does school start at nine?


    Because the point is not the time, or the amount of daylight, but that you learn to OBEY! The clocks going forward and back twice a year really is a “Jump? Yessir! How high?” phenomenon.

    Anyone with insufficient autonomy to reject social time and live their life at a chosen latitude according to the astronomical time prevailing there is bound to be somewhat oppressed and therefore somewhat depressed.

  3. I’ve lived in Arizona for five years now and I hate not changing the clocks. The problem is work schedules don’t change but the time my body wants to get out of bed varies greatly throughout the year. I realize days are shorter in the winter but it’s mitigated somewhat by changing the clock. But in Arizona my body wants to get out of bed at 4:30 in July and 8:30 in December.

  4. I am a U.S. newcomer from China, and I’ve felt a little bit tired since the start of this DST. I think it is partially because I have to adjust my biological clock an hour earlier, which seems to be bad for health. China only has one time zone and has never widely adopted DST policy, although it is well known for our farm products.

    Btw, such petition to the White House is a time-wasting effort if understanding the concept of Separation of Powers under the United States Constitution.

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