Friday, March 7, 2014

Why daylight savings time should be year-round

As we “spring forward,” we take an hour of daylight away from morning travelers and give it to those out in the late afternoon and early evening. Because travel is generally safer during the light of day, it is plausible that the time change affects travel risks at different times of the day.

My colleague Paul Fischbeck and I looked at the numbers and found clear effects on safety for pedestrians, runners and cyclists. There are more travelers later in the day than in the early morning, and consequently extending the daylight in the spring reduces the total number of injuries and fatalities.

As we “spring forward,” we take an hour of daylight away from morning travelers and give it to those out in the late afternoon and early evening. Because travel is generally safer during the light of day, it is plausible that the time change affects travel risks at different times of the day.

My colleague Paul Fischbeck and I looked at the numbers and found clear effects on safety for pedestrians, runners and cyclists. There are more travelers later in the day than in the early morning, and consequently extending the daylight in the spring reduces the total number of injuries and fatalities. ...

Based on the pedestrian fatality numbers alone, there is a case to take daylight saving time from its current eight months to the full year, eliminating the time changes altogether.
--David Gerard, NYT, on the case for one permanent spring forward