Science explains why Daylight Saving Time is absolutely terrible

There is no good reason for us to continue the trend

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 13, 2017 8:35PM (EDT)

There are a number of good reasons to hate being forced to change your clocks during Daylight Saving Time, while the argument in favor of doing so is paper-thin — if even that much can be said of it.

Among the many negative effects of the clock-changing for daylight saving time: Judges give out sentences that 5 percent longer on average the day after the change is made, worker productivity goes down, and heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents go up, according to Reuters. The article also points out that this practice does not help Americans save energy, which was the ostensible reason behind its implementation earlier in the 20th century.

The opposition to moving clocks forward and then back again has caused many Americans to fight back. In New England, a movement exists to keep that region on Daylight Saving Time throughout the year, with health care administrator Tom Emswiler telling The New York Times that "we are a distinct region of the country. If New York wants to join us on permanent Atlantic time: Come in, the water’s fine."

Scott Yates, who founded the website End Changing The Clocks For Daylight Saving Time, told The New Yorker that "the research shows that the thing that’s the problem is the changing twice a year." he said. He was also pessimistic about the states which have proposed bills to abolish changing the clocks, arguing on his website that "every one of those bills is doomed. Every one."

The obstacle here is the Uniform Time Act, a federal law that bars states from deviating from altering the dates when they change their clocks or abandoning the practice altogether. This means that, barring a change to the federal law or enough states passing their own bills to indicate dissatisfaction with the status quo, it is unlikely this antiquated and demonstrably useless ritual will be altered.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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