Daylight saving time will start again on March 12, can we make it permanent?
For Canada and much of the United States, daylight saving time is set to start again at 2 a.m. local time on March 12, 2023, — despite efforts to legislate out the time change.
On March 15, 2022, just days after clocks were adjusted to “spring forward,” the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would abolish clock changes in favor of daylight saving time year-round.
So is daylight saving time becoming permanent or ending permanently any time soon? Not necessarily, as the Sunshine Protection Act still requires approval by the House and President Joe Biden. That didn’t occur with the 2022 version of the bill. But in March 2023, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, reintroduced it to the Senate, with a similar bill also introduced in the House.
Either bill would bring major shifts in our clocks, daylight exposure, and sleep if it were to become law.
Many states have passed legislation calling for permanent daylight saving time, if federal law allows them to do so. Others are considering similar bills or popular votes.
Although dozens of states have considered legislation to end clock changes, only federal action can establish permanent daylight saving time in the United States. States may be able to opt out of daylight saving time, choosing permanent standard time. Local governments also can request to change time zones, which the U.S. secretary of transportation must approve.
The change would help enable children to play outdoors later and reduce seasonal depression, according to supporters. Critics say the change would force millions of school children to go classes in the dark for part of the year. Some sleep experts say daylight savings time makes it harder to be alert in the morning.
Since 2015, about 30 states have introduced legislation to end the twice-yearly changing of clocks, with some states proposing to do it only if neighboring states do the same.
Supporters say the change could prevent a slight uptick in car crashes that typically occurs around time changes. They argue the measure could help businesses such as golf courses that could draw more use with more evening daylight.
Daylight saving time has been in place in nearly all of the United States since the 1960s after being first tried in 1918. Year-round daylight saving time was used during World War Two and adopted again in 1973 in a bid to reduce energy use because of an oil embargo and repealed a year later. The U.S. also experimented with permanent daylight saving time in January 1974 in the face of a mounting oil crisis. That ended in October 1974 because of significant public dissatisfaction with darker mornings.
Groups such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation, as well as many experts, oppose permanent daylight saving time and prefer the idea of permanent standard time.
Daylight saving time reduces exposure to morning sunlight, which makes it harder to wake up in the morning. More light in the evening may make it harder to fall asleep at night. In addition, the shift in the timing of daylight exposure can affect the body’s internal clock, which follows a 24-hour schedule known as a circadian rhythm.
By establishing a stable time, the new law would prevent sleep disruptions that occur from biannual clock changes. Switching to permanent daylight saving time, however, could interfere with quality sleep.
Arizona, Hawaii, and U.S. territories that follow permanent standard time would be exempt from the law. These states and territories would continue using their current system of permanent standard time.
In addition, any other state that adopted permanent standard time before November 2023 would be exempt from the switch to permanent daylight saving time. Every state would have to choose one stable time, either standard time or daylight saving time.
Part of the article was reported by Reuters.