Why Congress Should Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent

–An illuminating case for passing the Sunshine Protection Act

Business Productivity

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.”

Safe Driving

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.

According to UK-based media outlet The Week:

  • “ 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.”

Final Thoughts

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).


David B. Grinberg
David B. Grinberg
David is a strategic communications consultant, ghostwriter, and literary PR agent on issues of workforce diversity, equal employment opportunity, race and gender equity, and other social justice causes. He is a former career spokesman for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where he managed media relations for agency headquarters and 50 field offices nationwide for over a decade. Prior to his public service at the EEOC, David was a young political appointee for President Bill Clinton in the White House: Office of Presidential Personnel, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). A native New Yorker and University of Maryland graduate, David began his career in journalism. You can find David online via LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Good Men Project, Thrive Global, BIZCATALYST 360°, and American Diversity Report.

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  1. David — Please understand that I’m TOTALLY with you on this issue before you read what I’m about to say. My irritation is with the legislative process in our country, not with your reasoning, which I’ve known to always be spot on. OK?

    What rankles me about this issue and others is the amount of time legislators spend talking about what is – to use a hockey analogy – an open net. Abolishing DST has been talked about how many times (?) and for all the good reasons you point out. And as you pointed out, there are once again bills going through Congress and various state legislatures. Talk. Talk. Talk.

    It’s an easy “open net” issue to talk about – so we don’t have to have real discussions about gun control, or climate change, or immigration reform, or voter suppression!

    Our turtle-like legislative process brought to mind this: I apologize for the explicit language. It’s his, not mine.

    • While I agree with you on the waste of time, Jeff, wouldn’t it be a win if for once a piece og legislation could be agreed on across the isle. Perhaps they could find other issues they could do next and figure out that nobody has horns and cloven feet regardless of where they sit in the room.

    • It definitely would, Charlotte. My point was that we’ve been here before. What more is there to study, to decide? As Aaron says below, “just pick one.”

    • Jeff, thanks so much for the excellent points. I agree that legislative gridlock is a major problem, generally, and Congress should focus more on the priority issues facing the nation — in particular, climate change and social justice are close to my heart.

  2. Last Saturday my youngest asked me what the point was. . . He said, “Dad, people keep saying we gain an hour, but the sun still rises and sets at the same meteorological time, so what’s the point?” I agree with my nine year old. Pick one. I honestly don’t care which (DST or ST), just pick one, and leave the hands on the clock alone. DST probably makes the most since that is the setting we use 8 months a year. If anything, please stop saying we “gain an hour”, which in my mind is propaganda at its finest (dating back to 1918 here in the US).

    • Jeff, thanks so much for the excellent points. I agree that legislative gridlock is a major problem, generally, and Congress should focus more on the priority issues facing the nation — in particular, climate change and social justice are close to my heart.

    • Aaron, I always appreciate hearing from you. I think most people, like my wife, share the sentiment you expressed: pick one or the other, period. You’re correct that we don’t gain an hour of daylight in general, but we do gain an hour of daylight in the late afternoon and evening with DST (later sunset) — and, as you know, we consequently lose that hour of daylight in the morning (later sunset). There is a misconception about what we gain or lose, so thanks for clearing it up.

  3. The European Union has called on all member states to decide which side to take on the thorny summer time issue by 2021.
    The one on summer time is the latest version of a great European classic: the clash between the states of the North and those of the South. The countries of the North are against summer time because in the summer it gets dark later and not they need to move the clock forward to save on bills. Those in the South, like Italy, are in favor of the dual time we have now because it earns us an hour of daylight on summer evenings and makes us recover another on winter mornings.
    In reality, the perplexities on the single timetable model remain widely shared: the “lack of an impact assessment from which the picture of the advantages and disadvantages can be exhaustively deduced, there is no scientific evidence, that is, that those two small time zone changes can really damage the psycho-physical balance; thanks to summer time, which for six months a year allows us to turn on the lights an hour later, in Italy, for example, the savings have been calculated at around 100 million euros a year; the possibility that the «individual choices of the Member States can create a mosaic of time zones, with the risk of not guaranteeing the proper functioning of the internal market.
    In short, the single time seems to be a stretch. But then, with all the sources of stress there are, are we really sure that we ruin our lives for those two days a year when we have to move the hands by an hour?

    • Aldo, thanks as always for commenting. I appreciate your explaining the issue from a European perspective. I would just note that the time change (either way) affects many people for several days as their internal body clocks adjust. So it’s more impactful than just two days a year.