Daylight Saving Time Could Be Saving Lives

Updated on: 2/13/2019

Daylight Saving Time is over! Welcome to Daylight Spending Time! Long live Daylight Spending Time!

Okay, maybe “Daylight Spending Time” doesn’t exist, but tomorrow you should definitely check and make sure that your phone is an hour behind what you think it should be. But make sure someone else hasn’t already done this. You don’t want to be an hour behind everyone. 

Check if you want to know what time it is. daylight savings time accidents

Every year when we fall back people like to point out that there we’re not actually changing the amount of sunlight the earth receives—of course we’re not. If we could change the amount of light the earth receives we wouldn’t have to worry about coordinating setting our watches. But Daylight Saving Time does change our relationship with time, and time is, at its core, an agreement between everyone.

Ending Daylight Saving Time means, effectively, that we’re chopping off an hour of light in the evening and adding it to the morning. Less light at night, more light in the morning.

People hate adjusting their schedule, but there’s more than convenience at stake. We could save people’s lives by making Daylight Saving Time the default.

After Daylight Saving Time ends, pedestrian-vehicle collisions increase. More travel occurs later in the day but Daylight Saving Time reduces the amount of light available to travelers in the evening. Moving darkness earlier in the day puts more pedestrians and cyclists in danger of being hit by cars.

Economists have analyzed the numbers of car collision victims and professor David Gerard put it this way, “the spike in pedestrian deaths is so sharp that we believe that there are actually two effects – the first associated with the amount of ambient light affecting visibility and the second with a mental adjustment by drivers and pedestrians to the time change.” 

Could we make Daylight Saving Time last all year? Congress does have some experience with this limited form of time control: in 1973 Daylight Saving Time lasted all year. The government extended it as recently as 2005. And it could again! After all, time is just an agreement. 

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