Michiganders are preparing to “spring forward” one hour this weekend with yet another daylight saving time day upon us -- but new legislation could end that practice in the state once and for all.
Since 1966, most of the U.S. has observed daylight saving time twice each year, changing the clocks backward one hour in the fall and forward one hour in the spring for one simple reason: to preserve daylight hours. The idea was introduced in the early 1900s to increase daylight hours for activities, in addition to saving energy by decreasing coal usage (which was the primary source of energy back then). The practice was permanently adopted in the U.S. once the Uniform Time Act was enacted in 1966.
Nowadays, daylight saving time doesn’t really save energy for countries that use it. There are even reports that on the Monday following daylight saving time for the spring, there is an increased risk of heart attacks and car accidents due to the lost hour of sleep.
In recent years, some states have moved to end the usage of daylight saving time -- and now Michigan can be added to that list.
Over the last four years, a total of 15 states -- from Oregon to Maine -- have officially enacted legislation or passed a resolution seeking to observe daylight saving time year-round in lieu of changing the clocks twice a year. On Wednesday, March 10, Michigan state Senator Jeff Irwin, who represents Michigan’s 18th Senate district, introduced a bill designed to do just the same: “end the Spring Forward and Fall Back once and for all,” a press release from Wednesday reads.
“Twice a year, we volunteer Michiganians for more car accidents and injuries at work. We see lower productivity and an increased number of heart attacks and strokes, as well as a noticeable uptick in general crankiness,” Sen. Irwin said. “The twice a year time change has no benefits for our state, and we should stop doing it immediately.”
Individual states do have the option to exempt themselves from observing daylight saving time, and this action must be taken by the state legislature. However, states do not have the authority to adopt a permanent daylight saving time, like Sen. Irwin is pushing for. Rather, federal action would need to be taken by Congress to permit states to do so.
So, in the meantime, the states that have pushed for year-round daylight saving time are waiting for some sort of amendment to the federal law allowing them to make the change.
The U.S. isn’t the only country that uses daylight saving time. Countries in North America and Europe are the primary practicers of daylight saving time, but parts of Australia and South America have also adopted the concept.
You can see a map of countries that use daylight saving time here.
What do you think: Are you tired of changing your clocks twice a year? Do you prefer the extra daylight? Take our poll below!