Witt: Time to end pointless practice

Published 1:57 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Well, it’s crazy time once again, that time of the year when everyone in the entire U.S. (except for Arizona, Hawaii and a few municipalities) is forced to turn their clocks forward for the ludicrously false purpose of “saving daylight.”

The latest event related to this twice-yearly exercise is that the Florida legislature just passed a ruling designed for the state to observe “daylight saving time” all year.

This is the height of stupid. To pass legislation that promotes and continues this insane practice is just heaping madness on top of the insanity already existing.

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This is a practice which began 100 years ago. It accomplished no realistic purpose then, and it certainly achieves nothing now, except to confuse the circadian rhythms of humans (and possibly animals as well, even though they most likely don’t pay any attention to the foibles of mankind in simply moving their clocks back and forth) and to make students have to wait for their school buses in the dark for longer periods.

Ben Franklin is reportedly to have suggested a form of DST, but perhaps as a joke, and nothing came of his suggestion.

It began in earnest during World War I, but was unpopular and was abolished as a federal mandate after the war.

Between 1918 and 1942, DST was observed in a lackadaisical way in some states, but there was no national prescription for it.

President Roosevelt mandated year-round DST in 1942 as an aid to the war effort, and it was officially dropped in 1945.

From 1945 to 1966, there was no official federal requirement for states to adopt DST.

After 1966, DST became a national standard, but from then until now the dates on which DST began and ended has changed numerous times.

By the Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST was extended from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. This extension began in 2007 and is in effect now.

While the original intent of DST was to conserve energy (specifically fuel for the war effort), that intent has largely vanished and, in fact, studies have shown that these changes in time have virtually no effect on energy consumption or cost savings.

DST is an outmoded, archaic concept which should be scrapped so humans can go about their daily lives without the onus of adjusting their daily habits to coincide with the vagaries of re-setting the clock hands.

Not only does this practice interrupt sleep patterns, it intrudes a real hassle on people who not only have to re-set their clocks — and most people undoubtedly have several in their homes — it requires adjusting watches and all those home appliances which have little digital clocks incorporated into them. And everyone knows that it is virtually impossible to get all those little kitchen clocks coordinated with one another anyway.

If Congress is really interested in doing something for the American public, it should repeal the DST law and let humans do whatever adjusting they want to do to accommodate the seasons themselves, without imposing this onerous practice on the entire population.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.