Twice a year, Americans change their clocks in accordance with the federally mandated switch to daylight saving time (DST), a concept first introduced during World War I in order to save energy by maximizing sunlight.
The idea was to take an hour of sun from the morning, when people were likely to be asleep, and tack it to the end of the day, when most Americans were still awake.
“I hate losing an hour of sleep, and I hate the disruption in the fall,” DST activist Scott Yates told VOA in an email. “But I’m trying not to complain as much about things that I can’t do anything about, so I’m doing something!”
The Colorado technology entrepreneur wants to remain on DST year-round and runs a website dedicated to achieving that goal.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 requires most Americans to comply with the semiannual time change.
Daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March, when clocks “spring forward” an hour. Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November, when clocks “fall back” an hour. That means we lose an hour of sleep in the spring and gain an extra hour of sleep in the fall.
South Carolina is the latest U.S. state to call on Congress to authorize DST year-round. The southern state joins more than two dozen other states that are considering or have already passed similar legislation.
Changing the clock is not only annoying to some people, but it might also be bad for your health.
Researchers say the risk of stroke is 8% higher during the first two days after a DST transition, and a 2012 study suggests the risk of having a heart attack is 10% higher on the Monday and Tuesday after the clocks move ahead one hour in March. There’s also a significant increase in vehicle accidents.
“If someone proposed today that we start changing the clocks around twice a year, we’d all say they are crazy,” Yates says. “There has been a ton of research showing that it’s just plain dangerous in terms of heart attacks, workplace accidents, traffic accidents, strokes. The list goes on and on.”
Critics of making DST permanent say the change will hurt high school students, who already have a hard time waking up in the morning, by forcing the teens to get up earlier from November to March.
There are also concerns that children would be walking to school, or waiting for the school bus, in the dark on winter mornings, which could lead to more pedestrian accidents.
Even President Donald Trump has weighed in on the issue, tweeting that, “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!”
Yates is delighted that his cause appears to be gaining momentum.
“When I first started this movement there were a lot of bills, but they never passed,” Yates says. “This year they are passing, and now there’s some movement on the federal level. People laughed at me a lot at the start, but now they seem to appreciate all the work I’ve put into it.”