On Sunday morning, March 10 at 2 a.m., most Americans will turn their clocks forward one hour. The original idea was the brain-child of George Vernon Hudson back in 1895, but it wasn’t implemented until World War 1 and was expanded during the 1970’s energy crisis.
Initially, the plan was to save costs on energy, because those expensive incandescent light bulbs, which are no longer in production, would be turned on an hour later during the spring. It was also supposed to reduce the cost of cooling and heating, but modern devices have varying usage patterns and are much more energy efficient. It would also add daylight for sports activities, outdoor entertainment and sun-dependent businesses.
However, it certainly doesn’t save time, say many critics, because it takes too much time to change clocks in homes, businesses, medical devices, heavy machinery and timekeeping occupations. The owner of one clock shop in New York said it takes him approximately two weeks to reset all the clocks in his store twice a year.
The cost of DST has gone off the charts.
A recent study called “lost hour” was conducted by the health organization sleepbetter.org and it concluded that America loses almost $434 million in productivity and medical costs. But the study only did a breakdown of expenses for 19 regions across the nation, so the real cost of DST is likely to be much more.
Excerpt from the study:
Nationally, the Lost Hour costs us a grand total of $433,982,548 in lost production and medical expenses. To figure out these numbers, we looked at how the time change can lead to an increase in heart attacks, workplace injuries in the mining and construction sectors, and increased cyberloafing in offices.
Not all states and countries participate in DST.
America is one of a handful of Western countries that utilizes DST and not all states within the US participate in the practice of changing clocks. Arizona remains on Mountain Standard Time all year, along with Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.
Every year there are more compelling studies that have shown DST may have outlived its benefit. Another petition has been started on the White House website to end the archaic practice. The petition requires 100,000 signatures to get a WH response.
At 6 a.m., this morning, an informal poll being conducted on the MSN money website had 57 percent in favor of dumping DST and 43% in favor of keeping it. Even if the White House petition should get the number of signatures required, with the current gridlock between Republicans and Democrats, it could end up being just a waste of time to ask Congress to agree on one simple thing to save money. Particularly since DST was extended by one month in 2005 under the Bush Administration.
Meanwhile, spring forward, fall back... or not.