Leave our clocks alone. Permanent Daylight Saving is better for Florida and the nation.

Most Americans moved their clocks forward on Sunday Morning. Should we go to a year-round clock instead? (Associated Press)
Most Americans moved their clocks forward on Sunday Morning. Should we go to a year-round clock instead? (Associated Press)
Published March 12, 2019

Feeling a little sluggish? Desperate for a mid-afternoon snooze?

You and much of America.

Blame the arcane idea that we need to fiddle with our clocks twice a year. Talk about a self-inflicted wound. Spring forward-fall back, brought to you by car crashes, lost productivity and caffeine.

Let's end the travesty. Lock the clocks, as the slogan goes. Pick Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time and stick with it.

"The days that it made sense to reset our clocks twice a year are gone," said Scott Yates, a Denver-based technology entrepreneur who runs a website that advocates for a year-round clock. "The reality is they never existed."

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The need for the biannual change sprang from murky origins. A lot of people credit, or blame, farmers, though author Michael Downing skewered that notion in his book Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time."

As he put it: "The most authoritative sources agree it was a Pittsburgh industrialist, Woodrow Wilson, a man on a horse in London, a Manhattan socialite, Benjamin Franklin, one of the Caesars, or the anonymous makers of ancient Chinese and Japanese water clocks."

He went on.

"The very thought of Daylight Saving Time seemed to give a lot of people a terrible headache, which made them mad, which made them more likely to make things up."

We do know that the nation first introduced the misery in 1918 to conserve coal during World War I. Daylight Saving Time fell in and out of favor but eventually took hold. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 allowed states to choose whether to partake. Most did.

Ever since, we've been extra irritable for a couple weeks each year.

On the upside, the Florida Legislature overwhelmingly supported a bill to move the state to year-round daylight savings, though Congress would have to sign off to make it happen. California voters did the same in November. New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and several New England states are considering it.

New York lawmakers want a committee to look into the pros and cons of a year-round clock. Massachusetts did something similar last year. Last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio filed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2019, which would make Daylight Saving Time year-round for the entire country.

On Monday, President Donald Trump weighed in.

"Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!" he tweeted.

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Yates prefers permanent daylight savings, but said states should choose for themselves whether they prefer permanent Standard Time instead. Either way, he's never felt so much momentum for making the change.

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"We have been stuck with this for 100 years," he said. "When something has been broken for that long, it takes time to fix it. But the support is growing, and that support is bipartisan."

Going to a year-round clock isn't a radical idea. Arizona and Hawaii don't spring forward. They stay on Standard Time and haven't been swallowed by a black hole. Many Asian countries did away with the time change years ago. Iceland gets by without one. So does Africa and most of South America.

It would be cleaner if the whole country went to either Standard or Daylight Saving time, but it's not essential. We already adeptly navigate multiple time zones.

Plus, Florida is better positioned to go it alone, if need be. Most Floridians work in the state. They don't commute into other states, where time differences could present a challenge. We already get plenty of sunshine year round, and our hours of daylight don't fluctuate as much between seasons as in northern states.

If pushed, I'd choose permanent daylight savings — more light at the end of the workday. We already expanded it to eight months back in 2007. Let's just add the remaining four. Research indicates that it cuts down on burglaries, car wrecks and heart attacks. Florida's farmers favor it, too.

Can't decide between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time? Flip a coin, if we must. But choose one and be done with it.

Then we can all get more sleep.

Contact Graham Brink at Follow @GrahamBrink.