Another consequential benefit of DST is increased productivity and better results for many employees, in addition to more revenue for major sectors of the economy such as tourism and hospitality.
I’ve observed over my career (pre-pandemic) that more employees tend to leave brick-and-mortar workplaces earlier when it becomes dark outside. Similarly, most tourists tend to curtail their outdoor activities. Yet with more sunlight in the late afternoon and evening, just the opposite occurs. This is because our subconscious minds equate darkness with sleep, medical experts say.
According to TimeAndDate:
- “The tourist industry welcomes DST, claiming that the extra hour of sunlight makes people stay out later, thus spending more money on activities like festivals, shopping, and concerts.”
- “The Belfast Telegraph reports that the extra evening light gives Northern Ireland at least £6.34 million a year in extra cash from tourists.”
According to The Washington Post (article above):
- “We know that businesses think daylight saving time is good for the economy — just look at who lobbied for increased DST in 2005: chambers of commerce.”
- “The grill and charcoal industries, which successfully campaigned to extend DST from six to seven months in 1986, say they gain $200 million in sales with an extra month of daylight saving.”
- “When the increase to eight months came up for a vote in 2005, it was the National Association of Convenience Stores that lobbied hardest — more time for kids to be out trick-or-treating meant more candy sales.”
It’s certainly no secret that darkness impairs the vision of drivers, which leads to more vehicular accidents. More folks fall asleep at the wheel, have collisions with other vehicles or objects, and hit innocent pedestrians trying to cross the street or bike home from work, for example. TimeAndDate notes, “Studies link DST to reduced road injuries.”
- “A joint Transport Research Laboratory and University College of London study predicted that fewer people would be killed and injured in road accidents if one hour of daylight was transferred from the morning to the afternoon.”
- According to the U.S. National Safety Transportation Board (NSTB), losing just two-hours of sleep can increase the risk of “being in a drowsy driving crash.”
Popular Mechanics (article above) reminds us that “DST lasts eight months, not a week, and the net effect of DST on traffic accidents is overwhelmingly positive.”
“Studies actually estimate that we could save about 366 more lives per year if we extended DST all year round.” — Popular Mechanics
Other Health Hazards
Studies have also shown that fewer crimes are committed during the eight months of Daylight Saving Time. This concurrently means greater cost savings for the public and law enforcement.
Popular Mechanics also points out the following about crime:
- “A paper from the Brookings Institute finds that there’s a 7 percent decrease in crime following the shift to DST.”
- “In 2007, when DST was extended through November 1, that drop resulted in an estimated $59 million in savings from robberies not committed (If you include crimes for which we must estimate dollar amounts, such as rape, that number goes up to $246 million).”
Other health hazards of abandoning DST in the fall include higher rates of depression and suicide, as the medical community is well aware. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), for example, is a psychological condition that negatively impacts the health and wellness of millions of people (due to increased depression during the darker winter months).
To the contrary, DST results in better mental and physical health.
- “ The Manchester Evening News says children, in particular, would feel the benefit and would be up to 20% more active during the longer evenings.”
- “One study of 23,000 children, published on the BBC, found that their daily activity levels were 15 to 20 percent higher on summer days than winter days, and that moving the clocks back causes a five percent drop in physical activity.”
David Prerau is a leading global expert on DST and author of, Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time. He says:
- “Critics of DST often focus their criticisms around those two days per year [when we change the clocks], citing confusion, schedule disruption, and even health problems.”
- “There’s a big difference between the effects of the one-hour change from standard time to daylight saving time — those effects take place over a day, maybe up to three days — versus daylight saving time itself, which lasts eight months.”
If you’re a proverbial “night owl” like me, more daylight in the evening is a welcome relief. But “early birds” (like my wife) aren’t thrilled about waking up to darkness with a later sunrise. Ditto that for employees who must commute to jobs in the dark.
In essence, everyone appears to care about Daylight Saving Time, albeit for different reasons. Yet we can all agree on one thing about competing arguments to “spring forward” or “fall back” year-round:
No one will miss changing the clocks. Do you agree?
What do you think, and why? Please share your valuable feedback below…
CALL TO ACTION: Phone your members of Congress and tell them to support, or oppose, the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 to make Daylight Saving Time permanent: 202–224–3121 (U.S. Capitol operator will connect you).