As we prepare to “spring ahead” for daylight saving time this weekend, Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is pushing to make DST permanent across the country.
The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 would negate the need for Americans to change their clocks twice a year with Hyde-Smith explaining that many studies have shown that making DST permanent could benefit the economy and the country.
“The public safety improvements, economic benefits, and the wellbeing of the American people are all excellent and credible reasons to embrace year-long daylight saving time,” Hyde-Smith said. “I know the agricultural sector in Mississippi and across the nation desires this change. I believe the Sunshine Protection Act would give us an immediate and long-term boost after a terrible pandemic year and a very dark winter.”
If passed, the legislation would apply to those states who currently participate in DST, which most states observe between March and November. The remaining four months, November to March, fall under Standard Time.
In a news release, Hyde-Smith and Rubio outlined the benefits that they believe this bill would offer.
- Benefits the economy. According to a study by JP Morgan Chase, which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2 percent – 4.9 percent when clocks move back.
- Benefits the agricultural economy, which is disrupted disproportionately by biannual changes in time by upsetting the synergy between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners.
- Reduces car crashes and car accidents involving pedestrians. Better aligning daylight hours to drivers’ standard work hours’ increases visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research. Also reduces the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife by 8-11 percent by shifting normal traffic patterns to an hour off from nocturnal wildlife’s behavior.
- Benefits health by reducing risks for cardiac issues, stroke, and seasonal depression.
- Reduces childhood obesity and increases physical fitness. According to studies published by the International Journal Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, children see an increase in physical activity during DST. The Journal of Environmental Psychology found that DST increased pedestrian activity by 62 percent and cyclists activity by 38 percent because of additional daylight.
- Reduces the number of robberies by 27 percent, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution because of additional daylight in the evenings.
- Reduces energy usage. A 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that during the four weeks the United States extended daylight savings from the 2005 law, there were savings of about 0.5 percent in electricity per day. Later studies have also shown that the energy savings are minimal but a small savings does occur.
The Florida legislature in 2018 enacted year-round DST; however, for the act to apply, a change in the federal statute is required. Fifteen other states (Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) have passed similar laws, resolutions or voter initiatives, and other states are considering similar action.
For now, don’t forget to change your clocks this Sunday.