Ditch the switch: It’s high time to stay on daylight savings

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Brace yourselves. It’s time to spring forward this weekend, which means we will all lose a precious hour of sleep.

On the plus side, it also means it will no longer get dark out before we eat dinner and we can all look forward to those long, lazy summer nights.

If we get really lucky, it might even be the last time B.C. ever has to change the clocks. Premier John Horgan told CTV that B.C. should expect some news on this in the next couple of months, now that our neighbours to the south are considering the change.

Clock/Shutterstock

California voters overwhelmingly supported a bill last fall to stick to summer time all year round. Their decision still has a couple of more hurdles to jump, such as getting approved by their federal congress, but the proposal was popular with voters, garnering nearly 60 per cent support.

Several Washington State senators also introduced a bill in January to spring forward this March and stay in that time zone forever.

“Research has shown that changing to and from daylight time twice per year has negative impacts on public health, increases traffic accidents and crime, disrupts agriculture scheduling, and hinders economic growth,” the proposal says, citing research that shows a greater risk of heart attacks, workplace injuries and increased suicides in the days just after the switch.

If Washington and California stop the time change, you can bet B.C. won’t be far behind.

As I wrote a couple of years ago, the time change makes us all feel crappy and cranky twice a year, for no good reason. About 10 years ago, daylight time was extended by four weeks and that has worked out just fine. If we just stayed on that time all year round, it’s unlikely to cause any ill effects.

Kamloops resident Tara Holmes founded Stop the Time Change BC with Bob Dieno five years ago.

She says momentum is growing, and she feels positive that next March’s spring forward might be the last one.

“We should have a provincial referendum,” Holmes said. “It’s not going away. If anything, there are way more people getting involved now and sending emails.”

Holmes got involved when she learned about the increase in accidents when it’s dark for the commute home. Her children had recently started driving and she worried for their safety.

“I worry when we fall back, because when you fall back you get sudden darkness,” Holmes said. “When

I heard about all of the ICBC claims that increase after the fall back, I thought, ‘I don’t want it to be my kid who hits a pedestrian.’”

Some people say if we stay on summer time all year, school children will have to walk to school in the dark in the depths of winter.

But Holmes said research shows it’s actually more dangerous for them to be walking home in the dark after school, if they’ve stayed late for a sports game or to play with friends. Drivers are more alert in the morning and there is less crime.

“Criminals are not at work first thing in the morning — they’re sleeping,” Holmes said. “Criminals are doing their work in the dark between 3 and 6 [p.m.]”

The Union of B.C. Municipalities has been pushing to end the time change for several years and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce is also supportive.

Many Canadian provinces and American states are considering staying on one time zone and, of course, Saskatchewan, Hawaii and Arizona already do that. The European Union is pushing to end the time change as well, though Brexit might complicate things.

“Considering the health and safety implications, sooner or later someone is going to start it and then everyone else will follow,” Holmes said. “I just wish Mr. Horgan would be a leader on this one and would take the initiative.”

Horgan didn’t respond to a request for comment, but he told Global News that British Columbians really care about this issue.

“I have received tens of thousands of emails from British Columbians who want to stay on Daylight Saving time. I said last week that as long as our neighbours, trading partners are changing their clocks, we should too,” said Horgan.

Holmes is confident the time change will end soon.

“We’re getting closer,” she said. “I really have a feeling that a year from now we may be in the throes of giving it a try.”

That change can’t come soon enough.

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