Commentary

Let’s spring forward and stay there. Make Daylight Saving Time permanent | Opinion

March 22, 2021 6:30 am

By Denny Bonavita

Daylight Saving Time began on March 14 when 2 a.m. Sunday did not occur. Instead, clocks jumped from 1:59.59 a.m. to 3:00.00 a.m.

This perennial time change causes two problems:

  • Waking up in darkness.
  • Having to reset clocks in March and again in November to revert to Standard Time.

The morning springtime darkness does not bother me. As a retiree, I rely on Circadian rhythms to wake me up. Once a month or so, I do not awaken until midmorning. What is the point of being retired if one cannot occasionally sleep until midmorning?

I detest having to reset clocks twice a year — which is why I heartily applaud Florida’s Legislature for its brilliant idea four years ago. Florida, its Legislature suggests, should stay on Daylight Saving Time all year around.

Hooray! A sensible start to sensible timekeeping.

A bill to do just that, the Sunshine Protection Act, is proposed by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, D-Fla., It calls for enjoying DST year-round, according to CNN.

A federal bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubbio, R-Fla. It calls for enjoying DST year-round, according to the CNN cable news network. Fifteen other states have passed similar legislation. Pennsylvania is a laggard, but perhaps not for much longer.

On March 17, the House State Government Committee voted 23-2 to approve legislation sponsored by Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh, that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Pennsylvania, PennLive reported.

But Congress has not authorized any state to stay on Daylight Saving Time throughout the winter months.

If just one state tries to do that, confusion could result.

Florida is an exception. Florida is a peninsula. To its east, south and west, there is mostly water. Only to its north would the change impact border areas of Georgia and Alabama.

If Pennsylvania, by itself, tried to stay on Daylight Saving Time all year long, imagine the outcry from bordering New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.

I experience time-change confusion each winter. We sojourn in the Florida Panhandle. A half-hour west of us is the dividing line between the Eastern and Central time zones. We made a 5 p.m. dinner reservation at a nearby restaurant. “Is that 5 p.m. Eastern or 5 p.m. Central?” asked the hostess.

“You would not believe the number of people who arrive an hour early — or an hour late,” she said. “It drives us nuts!”

Though Florida could possibly get away with staying on Daylight Saving Time by itself for the entire year, other states’ residents might go bonkers. We should be uniform about this.

Remember earlier when I said that Congress just might be sensible?

Let’s put the country on Daylight Saving Time all year long, or at least the contiguous Lower 48 states.

That would be sensible. It would also relieve me of a task that I detest: Resetting the clocks inside our vehicles.

Resetting the clock inside my wife’s sedan is simple. On the dashboard near the clock are two buttons: “H” and “M.” Pressing “H” advances the display for hours. Springtime requires one push. Fall-back time in November requires 11 pushes.

Easy.

The pickup truck, however, has a whiz-bang mini TV screen that displays AM-FM radio, Sirius, backup camera, clock and, for all I know, Vladimir Putin’s Russian speeches.

Finding the clock-change directions buried deep inside the owner’s manual was as disorienting as wandering through the Okefenokee Swamp that straddles the Florida-Georgia state line.

After verbally turning the air inside the cab bright blue, I got the truck’s clock reset — by blind luck. I have no idea which buttons did the trick when I pushed them. Resetting the timer for the lights in the poultry barn also refreshes my acquaintance with cuss words.

Staying on Daylight Saving Time would brighten the supper hour and give us more usable outdoor fun time. There is also a cost savings on electricity used for lighting. We would drive in daylight more often, reducing vehicle accidents. Heck, we might even spend more daylight hours sitting on our porches or walking around our neighborhoods, finding out that the people who live nearby are actually nice folks despite political differences.

Too many Americans perennially resent the maddening need to change clocks twice a year.

We can end the angst. Follow Florida, let’s have Daylight Saving Time forever.

Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. His work appears occasionally on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. Readers may email him at [email protected].

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