By Mike Wilcox
It’s time to give Daylight Saving Time the boot. The hour of lost sleep Sunday morning and driving to work in the dark … I’m not crazy about it.
To that end, Rep. Michelle Hoitenga has introduced in the Michigan legislature a bill that would do just that: make ours one of the few states that doesn’t recognize DST. Hoitenga has a steep hill to climb. Similar bills have been introduced in the past to no avail.
On the flipside, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Vernon Buchanan (a transplanted Michigander now representing a district in Florida) have authored a bill that would force all states to recognize and enact DST. I find it appalling that a couple of Florida lawmakers are trying to tell folks in other states what they can and cannot do.
The time change always confuses my feeble mind. Is the clock moving forward an hour, or back? You’d think I would know by now. After all, President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law back in 1918.
Today’s trek to work was interesting. My normal drive is uneventful, but the moon is usually gone and sun breaking through the clouds. Today it was pitch black with the exception of my headlights.
A couple of miles from home, I encountered what I thought was a lone coyote. It was hard to tell in the dark. I had to stop as the no-good varmint crossed the road.
What was this creature doing in a populated area? I recalled reports of these pests gaining in population and playing havoc with livestock. A few years ago the passenger jet I was on had to circle the landing strip in Detroit, because a coyote had decided to meander across the runway.
Three miles later, Rocky Raccoon and his family crossed in front of me. Screech went my brakes. Although I’ve had plenty of run-ins with raccoons in the past, I’m still fond of the critters and didn’t want to run down a baby. They slowly passed and I drove on.
Thus my first day of Daylight Saving Time 2019 was very eventful. If I continue to play dodge ’em with nocturnal critters the next few weeks, I’m sure a few will be dead and my car will be in the bump shop. Let’s hope the dead critters are of the coyote variety not spray-happy skunks.
There are, however, more important reasons to do away with Daylight Saving Time. or at least keep one time year-round.
Studies show a spike in heart attacks on the Monday following the springtime change. Open Heart Journal claims there are 24-percent more heart attacks on the day after spring forward than a typical day. That’s a humungous uptick. Researchers claim losing one hour’s sleep triggers the heart attacks.
Other studies claim the time change causes more traffic accidents. Again, lack of sleep is blamed. Drivers are thought to be less alert, therefore more prone to accidents. That’s certainly me as I swerve and brake to avoid nocturnal critters.
Daylight Saving Time has been proposed since 1784 when Benjamin Franklin championed the time change. It wasn’t changed in colonial times, but President Wilson and others made it law in 1918 to save energy costs during World War 1.
It has stayed in place ever since. In the mid-1900s it was thought the extra hour of daylight gave farmers more time to tend their crops. But technological advances in farm equipment have essentially eliminated that argument.
I see no useful purpose for the time change other than it’s always been the thing to do. I don’t think the farmers need it. And World War 1 was done and won 100 years ago.
If one of our federal lawmakers wanted to be useful, they might introduce a bill to eliminate DST. Then constituents like me, who even after half a century can’t get use to the darn change, will be satisfied.