18 December 2018
Daylight Savings Time: Friend or Foe?
Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a change in the standard time that includes losing or gaining an hour to maximize the utilization of daylight so that energy can be conserved. DST has been documented as a standard process within the United States for the last 100 years; however, thousands of years ago ancient civilizations changed their schedules based on the movement of the sun (Text 1). During WWI, Germany and several other European countries decided to use DST as a method to decrease the use of artificial lighting to conserve fuel sources (Text 1). Facing challenges with standardization of DST, the United States jumped on the DST bandwagon with the creation of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which specified a national time change routine during the months of April and October (Text 1). Although there have been continued alterations in DST within the U.S based on popular beliefs, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 solidified DST to the standardized time changes that are currently being used throughout the country (Title 1). Controversial issues still surround DST, as pros and cons are continually being discussed. After reviewing the evidence, it is obvious that the United States should continue to observe DST due to the many benefits it offers including, safety promotion, illness prevention, and energy conservation.
A major benefit of Daylight Savings Time is its potential to improve safety for all U.S.citizens. Research has shown that crime rates are lower during DST. This has been attributed to the fact that extra light in the evening times “decreases the opportunity for street crime against people returning home from work” (Text 3). A study conducted by the department of transportation (DOT) in Washington, DC found that crime decreased by 10-13 percent during DST (Text 3). Because DST lengthens afternoon lighting and rates of driving during the evening are double those of morning times, DST has been shown to decrease motor-vehicle accidents (Text 3). Another DOT study showed a “0.7 percent decrease in fatal motor-vehicle accidents for March and April under DST as compared with standard time” (Text 3). Although there are concerns that DST could cause issues with students going to school during darker morning hours, studies have shown that extended evening lighting could improve safety for children who may be engaged in outdoor activities (Text 3). Similar to motor-vehicle accidents, issues with morning accidents involving children have been shown to be “more than offset by the decrease in evening accidents” (Text 3). All of these examples underscore the importance of continuing DST in an effort to maintain safety by lengthening the amount of evening lighting during the months that most people are enjoying the outdoors.
Another impact that DST has on America is its potential to improve the wellbeing of all U.S. citizens. Because extended aftern...