Newspaper column: Nevadans should not have to change clocks twice a year

It is time to cast off our chains and free ourselves from slavery to the clock.

Mankind once worked from can till cain’t, as my ol’ grandpappy used to say — from the time you can see till the time you can’t — and farmers and ranchers such as grandpappy still do. But to make the trains run on time, we strapped ourselves to the clock, even though the clock is uniform and doesn’t change when the amount of daylight does.

Ol’ Ben Franklin, while serving as ambassador in France, accidentally figured out that this out-of-synch arrangement was somewhat uneconomical when he mistakenly arose one day at 6 a.m. instead of noon and discovered the sun was shining through his window. “I love economy exceedingly,” he said, and proceeded to explain in a letter to a local newspaper how many candles and how much lamp oil could be saved by adjusting the city’s lifestyle to the proclivities of the sun.

Franklin observed:

“This event has given rise in my mind to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the sun, and in exchange have lived six hours the following night by candle-light; and, the latter being a much more expensive light than the former, my love of economy induced me to muster up what little arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I shall give you, after observing that utility is, in my opinion the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, is good for nothing.”

Then he did the math, and exclaimed, “An immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.”

Thus, in 1918 in a effort to be more economical during the war, Congress borrowed from Europe the concept of daylight saving time — springing clocks forward during the summer and back in the winter. From shortly after Pearl Harbor until the end of the Second World War, the nation was on year-round daylight saving time, or war time, as it was called.

National Geographic photo

Moving the clock forward in summer might well save a few kilowatt-hours in lighting, but in states like Nevada that savings is more than made up for with increased air conditioning costs and the fuel used to drive about more after getting off work.

One recent study found that springing forward causes enough sleep deprivation to cost the U.S. economy $435 million a year. The New England Journal of Medicine found an association between that one hour loss of sleep from daylight saving time and an increase in car accidents, as well as a 5 percent increase in heart attacks in the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time, while an Australian study found an increase in the suicide rate.

The changing of clocks twice a year is really a bit of a nuisance and, dare I say, a waste of time.

Perhaps the time has come to end the charade and for the state Legislature to pass Assembly Joint Resolution No. 4 and make Pacific Daylight Saving Time year-round.

“WHEREAS, Congress also found and declared that ‘the use of year-round daylight saving time could have other beneficial effects on the public interest, including the reduction of crime, improved traffic safety, more daylight outdoor playtime for children and youth of our Nation, [and] greater utilization of parks and recreation areas …’” AJR4 reads in part, also noting possible “expanded economic opportunity through extension of daylight hours to peak shopping hour. ”

Changing to year-round daylight saving time might not save electricity, but it could increase productivity and prevent car wrecks.

Alas, as with everything else, the power to fix this lies in Washington, though I can’t seem to find this enumerated power in my copy of the Constitution. Perhaps it is outdated.

Therefore, AJR4 concludes by beseeching Congress to amend The Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 and allow each state to opt out, the same as Arizona and Hawaii have opted out, but rather than sticking with standard time, AJR4 would adopt Pacific Daylight Savings Time all year. Why should it get dark at 4:30 p.m. in the winter anyway?

A version of this column appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

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18 comments on “Newspaper column: Nevadans should not have to change clocks twice a year

  1. agent provocateur says:

    Reblogged this on Nevada State Personnel Watch.

  2. Father Paul Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

  3. bc says:

    Never understood the objections to daylight savings time. I enjoy the extra sunshine in the afternoon during the summer.

  4. Then would you enjoy that extra hour of daylight in the winter, too?

  5. Rincon says:

    “Moving the clock forward in summer might well save a few kilowatt-hours in lighting, but in states like Nevada that savings is more than made up for with increased air conditioning costs and the fuel used to drive about more after getting off work.” It’s a little hard to imagine that the extra cost of a/c is enough to spit at, since the amount of heat and daylight in a day doesn’t change. Driving more? What, because they’re going out more in the daylight and having more fun?

    Yes, there are more accidents for a few days after the spring change, but they drop in the fall by a similar amount. The net effect appears to be zero. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199604043341416

    From what I understand, states are allowed to exempt themselves from DST. Arizona doesn’t use it.

    DST is very useful in Illinois. If not for DST, the sun would rise at 4:15 AM in Chicago on June 21st. As if 5:15 isn’t brutal enough!

  6. Steve says:

    The argument is to stay on DST all year. Standard time sucks unless you are located on the west side of the time zone.

  7. Rincon says:

    Doesn’t work in Illinois, where the sunrise with DST would be at 8:18 AM.

  8. Steve says:

    This is why some things NEED to be fully in the control of the state.

  9. Rincon says:

    With DST, I have to agree, but the present situation os that the states can opt out if they choose to. What’s wrong with that?

  10. They can’t opt out now without congressional approval. At least that is what Nevada lawmakers believe.

  11. Rincon says:

    Have they asked? How do you know that Congress won’t just rubber stamp it? I agree with you though, that letting the states opt out without federal approval is fine. Arizona’s citizens do pay a bit of a price for their decision to do without DST. A mail order pharmacy that I use there changes it’s employees’ hours twice a year to match the time in the rest of the nation. I suspect they would appreciate DST.

  12. Steve says:

    I suspect that, in the case of your Pharmacy company, they ask the employees for volunteers to do the time change and they get plenty of people to fill the needs.

  13. bc says:

    Thomas
    I like standard time in the winter so that we have the extra daylight in the morning, don’t like having the sun come up at 8:30-9 am with the kids walking to school but there is no reason for the sun to come up at 4 am in the summer either.

    As much as I like states having their say on what goes on in their state, I like the standardization across the country. Had some work done in NW Indiana back when the NW Indiana counties did not change to DST, a guy from there I was working with said with his and his wife’s work, they had three clocks in their bedroom; one for his work, one for her work and one for where they lived to keep it straight. Another time I spent several months in Northern Arizona working, when the time changed everywhere else I found it hard to track what time it was at the customers in Detroit and family (and TV channels) in Las Vegas.

    Been changing the clocks for 40 years, still do not see the fuss.

  14. Rincon says:

    I suspect that in the pharmacy, there’s no point in having staff on when almost all of the customers think they are closed. They also need a full, not a partial staff in that hour that changes. The employees just have to shift their schedule. Anything else would be impractical. Nevertheless, those employees are represented in the capital, just like everyone else, so I’m not complaining on their behalf, just pointing out that having several states on different clocks has its costs. I like bc’s example better.

  15. Steve says:

    Kodak and my current employer cover all the time zones.

    From the eastern time zone.

    Covering these has been done in several different ways over the last 15 years. But, in the majority of the times when people had to make changes in their personal lives on a daily basis, it was done on a voluntary basis.

  16. […] really a bit of a nuisance and, dare I say, a waste of time — or at least that is what I said in a newspaper column a nearly a year […]

  17. […] really a bit of a nuisance and, dare I say, a waste of time — or at least that is what I said in a newspaper column a nearly a year […]

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