At the end of this month New Yorkers will take part in a bi-annual tradition.
Alongside trick or treating and scary movies, New Yorkers will also move their clocks back an hour as part of Daylights Savings Time. This autumn change is known colloquially as the “Fall Back”.
I have been an opponent of this outdated practice for as long as I can remember. I am sure I am not the only one left feeling groggy in the days following these changes. It is a hassle to change over all of your clocks and I would be surprised if I was not the only one who has overslept and missed a meeting as a result of the change…
Recent studies have started to suggest that the time change may be causing much more harm than good.
A Danish study found that depression levels spiked as much as eight percent in early November after the “Fall Back”. Various US studies found both a 24% increase in heart attacks amongst higher-risk populations following the “Spring Forward” time change and an 8% increase in strokes.
Daylight savings time-induced fatigue has also been linked to an increase in accidents. One study, published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine, found a 10-per cent increase in fatal collisions as a result of the time change. Another, published in the Journal of the American Psychological Association, found a sizeable amount of workplace injuries associated with this phenomenon.
We can also see a decrease in productivity linked to the time change. A joint-German/British study found that their citizens experienced “non-negligible losses of utility” after losing an hour of sleep.
On the flip side, permanent daylight savings time will likely generate more economic activity as individuals are more likely to go out shopping after work if it is still light out. A JP Morgan Chase study found a decrease of 3.5% retail activity following the “Fall Back” change. This is backed up by a Massachusetts Commission report that also found that “year-round DST would positively impact consumer spending” because of “additional evening daylight”.
All of this begs the question, why are we keeping it?
The rest of the world certainly doesn’t see much benefit.
In fact, 79% of the world does not follow this practice. And more jurisdictions are looking at shrugging off the practice.
Arizona and Hawaii don’t follow the practice, and Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas, Utah, and Vermont are all considering the same. Several Canadian provinces are doing the same.
New York and Ontario should be at the forefront of this charge.
But, I need your help to make it happen.
Ontario and New York benefit from an enormous amount of trade made easier by our common time zone. It will continue to be in our best interest to preserve this commonality. As such, my Bill ensures that our elimination of the change won’t come into effect unless New York State follows suit.
While we may not be able to avert this 2020 Fall Back on Halloween, let’s work together to end this practice. If you agree, I would ask that you contact your state congressmen and advocate that they join with Ontario. Together, we can make this change a reality. The time is now.
Jeremy Roberts is a member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West – Nepean.