As Americans prepare to change their clocks this Sunday, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) remind Americans of their proposals to end the antiquated practice of clock changing.
Most recently, in September, Rubio and Scott introduced legislation that would keep the United States on Daylight Saving Time (DST) through November 7, 2021. If enacted, the bill would have prevented the United States from “falling back” to Standard Time this Sunday, and Americans would have avoided changing clocks in March 2021 when the United States typically springs forward to DST. Rubio and Scott introduced the bill in an effort to provide one year of stability for families who are already dealing with enough change with virtual learning, work from home, and other disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2019, Senator Rubio re-introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, legislation that would make DST permanent across the country, excluding Arizona and Hawaii. The bill reflects the Florida legislature’s 2018 enactment of year-round DST; however, for Florida’s change to apply, a change in the federal statute is required. More than 10 other states, including Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Arkansas, Alabama, and Wyoming, have passed similar laws, and dozens more are considering. In 2018, California voters overwhelmingly passed a proposition to authorize the state legislature to move to permanent DST.
“As families across the nation prepare for yet another disruption to their daily routines this weekend, I want to remind Americans that we have another option — to stay on Daylight Saving Time,” Rubio said. “More daylight in the after school hours is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year. Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, and 7 in 10 Americans don’t want to change their clocks. I urge my colleagues to work with me to make this Sunday the last time our country ‘falls back’.”
“After months of uncertainty and staying indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic, all of us could use a little more consistency and sunshine,” Scott said. “I was proud to join Senator Rubio to introduce legislation that would keep Daylight Saving Time year-round, and I hope our colleagues join us to pass this common-sense bill.”
Potential effects of making Daylight Saving Time permanent for the nation:
- 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.
- Reduces risk for cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression.
- Reduces the number of robberies by 27 percent, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution because of additional daylight in the evenings.
- 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.
- 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% and cyclists activity by 38% because of additional daylight.
- Benefits the agricultural economy, which is disproportionately disrupted by biannual changes in time by upsetting the synergy between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners.
- Reduces energy usage, a 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that during the 4 weeks the U.S. 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.