WASHINGTON – As Americans prepare to turn their clocks forward an hour this month, Congressman Vern Buchanan recently introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent and end the twice-a-year clock change that takes place every November and March.
“There are enormous health and economic benefits to making daylight saving time permanent,” Buchanan said. “Florida lawmakers have already voted to make daylight saving time permanent in my home state and Congress should pass the Sunshine Protection Act to move Florida and the rest of the country to year-round daylight saving time.”
Buchanan began introducing the measure following the Florida legislature’s 2018 enactment of year-round daylight saving time.
“Changing our clocks twice a year is inconvenient and entirely unnecessary,” Buchanan continued. “It’s time to end this antiquated practice.”
The U.S. has observed year-round daylight saving time before, including most recently from 1974-1975. Many studies have shown that making daylight saving time permanent could benefit the economy and the country.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who filed companion legislation in the Senate, said, “This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid. Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done.”
Buchanan introduced the measure in the House with 13 original cosponsors, including Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Cory Mills (R-Fla.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), James Comer (R-Ky.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), Dale Strong (R-Ala.), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Jerry Carl (R-Ala.) and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.).
Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 12 and ends on Nov. 5 of this year.
The benefits 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.