Editorial – Daylight Savings Time

As Daylight Savings is this weekend, the editorial looks at some of the pros and cons of the tradition.

This Sunday morning at 2 a.m. on the nose, daylight savings strikes again, causing us to lose an hour in the day and the clocks jump automatically to 3 a.m. The practice has been a tradition since 1916 and is a benefit as it gives us an extra hour of light in the evening.

It seems that every time we set our clocks forward or backwards, as in the case with fall daylight savings, there is an outburst of opposition to the idea. People claim it’s archaic and disrupts their daily lives. After spending five years in university, I have to say that I sympathize with these claims. Any reason to take away an hour of studying or sleep is usually a bad one, and daylight savings is no exception.

In Canada, daylight savings has a reputation as being a tool for farmers, as they are the ones who benefit most from an extra hour of sunlight during work hours. However, I find this hard to believe, as Saskatchewan is the only province that doesn’t participate in it. They just leave their clocks alone and go about their days without worrying if they had the right time for the dentist appointment because their time never changed.

Creston has the same philosophy. The town flirts with the border between the Mountain and Pacific time zones. Instead of changing their clocks, they simply move the highway sign informing people of the time change from one side of the town to the other, depending on what time zone they align with best. It has caused some issues for the small town. Creston shares a school district with Nelson, which operates into the Pacific Time Zone while the closest hospital is in Cranbrook, which is in the Mountain Time Zone. As reported in a 2014 article in the Globe and Mail, this does cause people to miss appointments and people have to always think about what time zone they are currently in, in relation to where they may be travelling or conducting business.

There is some research that ties daylight savings to an increase in traffic accidents. A 2014 Time article said researchers are in favour of a year-round daylight savings schedule to be in effect, as there are more people awake and active in the afternoon hours than there are in the morning ones. The article cites a 2004 study titled Accident Analysis and Prevention, which states that the lives of 170 pedestrians could be saved annually if there was perpetual daylight savings.

Another benefit to daylight savings and increased afternoon light is a regression in robbery rates. A study published in December 2015 states a seven per cent drop in daily robberies in the United States, resulting in $59 million in social savings costs from avoiding robberies. I will try to keep this in mind as my alarm clock blares an hour earlier than desired on Sunday morning.