End to daylight saving time pitched for Michigan, Ontario
'I’m hoping some folks in Ontario start talking about it as well,' says Ann Arbor Democratic Rep. Jeff Irwin
It could be lights out for daylight saving time in Michigan — and Ontario, too — if a Michigan state lawmaker has his way.
Ann Arbor Democratic State Rep. Jeff Irwin last week introduced legislation that would direct the State of Michigan to follow the standard time of the Eastern Time Zone.
Irwin cites “well-documented” accidents and heart attacks in the days after the spring shift. He also says daylight saving time is supposed to save energy, but evidence from Indiana’s 2006 changeover found an increase in electricity usage.
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The rationale behind daylight saving time is that advancing clocks when the days are longer in the spring and summer gives people an extra hour of sunlight in evenings.
Later in the year, clocks are turned back to provide more light for people heading to work in the mornings.
The practice is not popular in agricultural communities, where many farmers say it disrupts their schedules too much and studies show energy savings are meagre.
"It’s an idea that’s outlived its usefulness," Irwin told CBC Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette on Monday. "The main reason is [because] it causes workplace accidents and traffic accidents and twice annually scheduled chaos is not serving a purpose any more."
University of British Columbia sleep researchers documented a five to seven per cent increase in traffic accident fatalities during the three days following spring forward.
Another study, published in 2011 by University of Alabama at Birmingham scientists, found a 10 per cent spike in the risk of heart attacks in the 48 hours following spring forward.
Irwin said daylight saving time only produces "a couple of groggy days" and "ornery children."
Neighbours a concern
"It was brought about to save energy but it doesn’t do that anymore so why engage in this silliness?" Irwin asked. "The best reason to keep doing it is because we always do it and our neighbours do it."
Ontario, a major trading partner with the State of Michigan, and Windsor, where thousands of people commute from for work in Detroit, observe daylight saving time.
"The best reason to keep doing it is because we always do it and our neighbours do it. This is something we all have to talk about together. I’m hoping some folks in Ontario start talking about it as well," Irwin said. "Let’s just pick one and stick to it. If we like the later summer evenings, let’s pick that one and stick with it."
Irwin's introduced piece of legislation reads:
The people of the State of Michigan Enact:
- Sec. 1. This entire state, including all political subdivisions of this state, shall follow the standard time of the zone in which it is located as provided for in the uniform time act of 1966, 15 USC 260 to 267.
- Sec. 2. As authorized in 15 USC 260a, this entire state, including all political subdivisions of this state, is exempt from and shall not follow daylight savings time or the advancement of time as it is otherwise referred to.
Michigan not alone
Irwin isn't alone in wanting to end the practice of daylight saving time.
Oregon state Senator Kim Thatcher says she wants to give voters the say on whether to ditch daylight saving time for good. She put forward a motion to hold a state referendum on the practice of turning clocks forward in the spring and back in the fall.
A similar bill was recently launched in Washington state by Republican Representative Elizabeth Scott.
Other bills to either abolish daylight saving time or adopt it year-round have been proposed in Utah, New Mexico, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, South Dakota and Alaska.
With files from CBC BC, Associated Press