LANSING – State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced legislation today that would eliminate the use of daylight saving time in Michigan. The bill would direct the state to follow the standard time of the zone in which it is located, as provided for in the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Rep. Irwin suggested that this will increase road and workplace safety, as well as reduce stress associated with the twice-yearly shift.
“As we have all experienced this week, changing schedules for daylight saving time is stressful and unnecessary. In the days after the spring time shift, there are well-documented increases in road and workplace accidents, as well as heart attacks,” Rep. Irwin stated. “Although daylight saving time is supposed to save energy, the evidence from Indiana’s 2006 changeover to daylight saving time shows an increase in electricity usage, not a savings.”
Rep. Irwin’s opposition to daylight saving time is based in part on the work of numerous researchers who have demonstrated the harmful effects of the daylight saving transition. For example, here in Michigan, researchers recently found that heart attacks increased by 24 percent on the Monday after the “spring forward.” Although the researchers concluded that those people would probably have had heart attacks later in the week anyway, the spike in heart attacks is an indicator of the physiological stress caused by the disruption of sleep patterns. Several studies have shown that traffic accidents, including alcohol-related accidents, increase following both the spring and fall time changes. A 2009 paper in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that, on the Monday after the spring time change, workers sustain more workplace injuries, and the injuries they get are more severe. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Indiana, the most recent state to transition to daylight saving time, saw a 1 percent increase in residential energy usage associated with the change. Researchers concluded that small energy savings in lighting were more than offset by increased energy usage for heating and cooling.
“Ultimately, daylight saving time is not worth the disruption it causes,” Rep. Irwin said. “I hope my colleagues and Michigan residents will join me in supporting this legislation to eliminate the worst day of the year.”