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Editorial: It's time to unite America with common sense: Stop changing the clock

Editorial: It's time to unite America with common sense: Stop changing the clock

If we want to trace when the country started to go to hell, 1966 could be a good starting point.

Torn by civil rights struggles and with the Vietnam War escalating, Congress made the colossal mistake of approving the Uniform Time Act, which requires us to change our clocks twice a year. Except in Arizona and Hawaii, which opt to stay on Standard Time year-round. Congress allowed that, deepening the inanity.

As we stand poised to “fall back” once again early Sunday, The World-Herald calls for an end to this nonsense.

While it’s easy to make light of this (pun intended), we are absolutely serious and firmly behind a growing movement for year-round Daylight Saving Time.

Thirteen states now have approved legislation that would move them to year-round daylight time if Congress were to authorize it. Bills have been introduced in more than 20 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Nebraska, where this year’s proposal died in the inky blackness of Standard Time. Our lawmakers should revive the bill and add to the momentum.

This is a rare issue that brings the country together: California voters approved the change, pending legislative action, and President Donald Trump last year tweeted his support for year-round daylight time. Nebraska’s bill had Democratic and Republican backers.

A poll last year by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 71% of respondents were sick of changing their clocks.

Studies have shown several risks associated with the time change, including increased pedestrian deaths, particularly after work hours in the fall, when drivers and walkers must suddenly adjust to the dark. Other documented dangers include increased heart attacks after the spring time change and worsened depression in the fall.

The only evident health benefit of the time change is that it is accompanied by a reminder to switch batteries in smoke detectors.

Businesses generally like more light later in the day, having lobbied Congress to expand Daylight Saving Time in 1987 and in 2005, and two studies have found that crime drops during DST.

On the flip side, farmers generally have never liked daylight time, and some parents complain that it forces children to go to school in the dark. But farmers are doing chores and kids are going to school in the dark part of the year anyway; we would argue that without the sudden time change, folks would adjust more evenly as winter sets in.

We do need a national standard — truckers and travelers shouldn’t be expected to change times as they cross state borders within time zones.

Congress should act. It could be called the Common Sense Time Act — because it clearly is time for common sense to prevail over this silly falling and springing.

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