Pennsylvanians, like Most Americans, Will Set Their Clocks Ahead One Hour by 2 A.M. Sunday, as the Nation Switches to Daylight Saving Time [Derived Headline]

By Himler, Jeff | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 6, 2019 | Go to article overview

Pennsylvanians, like Most Americans, Will Set Their Clocks Ahead One Hour by 2 A.M. Sunday, as the Nation Switches to Daylight Saving Time [Derived Headline]


Himler, Jeff, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Pennsylvanians, like most Americans, will set their clocks ahead one hour by 2 a.m. Sunday, as the nation switches to daylight saving time.

If House member Russ Diamond, a Lebanon County Republican, has his way, it will be the last time Keystone State residents "spring forward." He intends to sponsor a bill that, if passed by the General Assembly, would end Pennsylvania's participation in the daylight saving practice.

"I'm hopeful we could get this through and get that accomplished before it comes time to spring forward again in 2020," Diamond said, noting he expects co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. "I really don't want Pennsylvanians losing sleep over this anymore."

If the bill becomes law, Pennsylvania would join U.S. lands farther to the south, with less seasonal variation in sunlight, that don't observe daylight saving time -- Hawaii, parts of Arizona and the territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Navajo Nation, which is located in northeastern Arizona, does take part in DST, at odds with the rest of the state.

When daylight saving time gained initial acceptance about a century ago, it was meant to curb domestic energy consumption during World War I. The seasonal time shift was officially standardized in 1966, but opponents argue it has outlived its purpose.

"The energy savings have been, at best, negligible," Diamond said. In fact, there are studies that show Americans actually use more energy when daylight saving time is in effect.

Modern workplaces employ climate control and energy-efficient lighting around the clock, Diamond wrote this week in a memo accompanying his proposed bill, adding, "There is no national crisis that changing clocks helps to alleviate."

But Diamond is most worried by research indicating the disruption of sleep patterns and fatigue that comes with the shift to daylight saving time can trigger increased rates of heart attacks -- along with miscarriages, depression, traffic crashes and workplace injuries, as people strain to adjust to the altered time schedule.

"I think that outweighs everything," he said.

Economic drain

In addition to health hazards, those factors cause a drain on the economy.

Diamond cited a 2016 study by Chmura Economics & Analytics that calculated a DST-related annual national cost in lost productivity equal to almost $434 million. For the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area, the cost was estimated at nearly $5.8 million -- or about $2.42 per person, the 13th-highest figure among more than 300 regions analyzed. Morgantown, W.Va., topped the list, with a cost of about $3.38 per person.

Diamond believes those employed in Pennsylvania's leading industry, agriculture, should welcome eliminating daylight saving time adjustments, which he noted have no bearing on the natural sunlight that is important for raising crops and animals. …

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