Sunday, March 09, 2008

DST Returns

Hi, folks. It's been awhile since I posted. It's been a long and rough winter. Thanks to all who have visited the site in my absence. Got a subject for today that must be addressed.

Daylight Savings Time (DST). To many of you, it's a normal thing each spring and fall. To us in Indiana, it is a strange adjustment, as we have only been doing this for a few years. It is a major adjustment. Let me explain our situation.

Because of a bad experience with DST in the 1960's, Indiana went back to Eastern Standard Time in all but a few counties. That's what I grew up under. No time change. Folks knew where the sun would be at a certain time of year, such as in summer, the sun being down before 9:00 PM. Normal.

Fast forward to 2005. Our beloved (?) governor, Mitch Daniels, decided that he knew what was best for all of us. Daniels, against popular opinion, pushed to get a DST bill approved by the legislature. The vote was very close, and by Daniels and his bunch twisting arms, managed to get the law passed by one vote. This vote was by a man who had originally said he would vote against the bill. DST, against the will of the people, became law.

To a state that is used to doing things the old-fashioned way, DST is a nightmare. The summer days are longer, which means increased energy use from running air conditioning. Hmmm, increased energy use, increased cost, Repub in office...sound familiar?

Now we have evidence that DST does not work. According to the Lincoln, Nebraska, JournalStar, DST led to increased energy use. The study was done in Indiana, and compared electricity consumption before DST and after DST. There was also a control group made up of households from counties that had already been on DST. Read on:

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

“I’ve never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this,” says Kotchen, who presented the paper at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference.

DST can also lead to increased risk of drowsy driving. According to an article in Yahoo Finance from the National Road Safety foundation, DST increased the risk of drowsy driving.
"The change throws off our internal clock, and it can take as long as two weeks for our bodies to adjust," says Adele Kristiansson, director of marketing and legislative affairs at the National Road Safety Foundation.

"Drowsiness is a condition most drivers fail to recognize, and it can be as dangerous as drinking and driving," she adds. "Studies show 60 percent of us have driven while feeling fatigued, and more than a third admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsiness is a factor in a substantial number of traffic crashes."

There we have it, folks. The evidence is in. DST does not save energy, it only increases its use. At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, we don't need an increase in energy usage.

DST is also very dangerous, and can cost lives. Two weeks to adjust to the change could mean the loss of a loved one. That should not happen.

DST must go. It doesn't save anything except votes and money for the politicians and their corporate buddies. They like to think this is New York. Well, it isn't. The new governor (and there will be a new one - Daniels doesn't have enough support from his own party, let alone the Democrats), must make this a high priority in the new administration.

Enough is enough. Put us back on Eastern Standard Time and leave it there. As we say here, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.