Ah, this is the horrible day Daylight Savings Time ends.
Time for another speaking of truth to the few people in this country who think it's a good idea to have the sun set an hour earlier in the already depressingly-early-sunset seasons of fall and winter.
Last spring I shared the reasons for making Daylight Savings Time full-time in "Let's make daylight savings time permanent." Excerpt:
In my extensive personal research regarding this issue, which includes (well, totally encompasses) brief conversations with friends and asking a plumber who is working in our house right now how he feels about daylight saving time, everybody loves it.
They prefer having more light in the late afternoon and evening than early in the morning. After all, after work/school is when people have an opportunity to go for a walk, bike, run, or otherwise get outside and do stuff.
When daylight saving time ends and we put our clocks back an hour in the fall, I've never heard someone say "Oh, joy, now it is going to get dark at 5 rather than 6. I can walk the dog with a flashlight!"
Today the wise folks at Vox updated their highly persuasive article on this subject, which I cited in my post. Check out "It's time to make daylight savings time year-round."
There's really no good reasons not to do this. The farmers need it argument is weak, as the Vox piece points out.
One particular group has been opposed to DST from the start: farmers.
Unlike most other workers, farmers can't easily do some of their work when it's dark out. This is the original reason DST is only in effect part of the year — because, due to the late-rising winter sun, year-round DST would mean it'd still be dark out when the clock says farmers should get up to work.
But there are also far fewer farmers than there used to be. In 1918, when daylight saving time went into effect in the US for the first time, farmers made up nearly 30 percent of the US population. Today, that number has dwindled to about 2 percent. So the compromise system we now have means that for 98 percent of the population, DST isn't in effect during the part of the year when we'd benefit from it most.
And those benefits are substantial. More opportunity to get outside after work/school to exercise, recreate, shop, relax. Less crime. Fewer traffic-related deaths. The Vox article makes all this clear.
Hopefully legislators will realize that daylight savings time shouldn't end in fall; it should be year-round. I quoted from the original Vox piece in my previous post...
Lots of social problems are really hard to solve. There are often big, powerful players with a stake in keeping the status quo, or the actual solution is messy and hard to implement.
This isn't the case with yearlong DST. An act of Congress — just like the act that extended DST in 2005 — could instantly fix this problem, saving us the annoyance of switching our clocks and giving us more sunlight to enjoy during our leisure hours. Over time, even farmers' opposition to DST has softened, and most people simply want to stop switching their clocks twice a year.
...Let's make this weekend the last time we set our clocks forward — and let's leave them there forever.