End Daylight Savings Time Changes in Massachusetts

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A commission is currently meeting in the MA house to consider moving Massachusetts to the Atlantic time zone from November to March, essentially ending daylight savings time changes and keeping Massachusetts on a consistent time year round. Please sign the petition if you agree this is a good idea.

From Boston Globe Op Ed 5 October 2014 by Tom Emswiler, Why Mass. should defect from its time zone: Sunset before 4:15? It doesn’t have to be this way

Photo credit: Emily Theis for the Boston Globe

Most of us now take for granted that we spend part of the year on one time, part on another. Since World War I, our nation, states, and individual localities have gone on and off observing daylight saving time; since 1967, it’s been a constant in nearly every state. But the truth is that the whole idea of switching times twice a year has a physiological cost that President Woodrow Wilson and Congress couldn’t have imagined when they first approved it in 1918.

Recently, Swedish doctors looked at two decades of health data in their country to determine whether daylight saving time affected cardiovascular health. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, they found while heart attacks are reduced for one day in the fall following the clocks’ return to standard time, heart attacks increased for three days in the spring following the start of daylight saving time. People under age 65 were especially affected.

Other researchers have found that workplace injuries increase the Monday after the clocks spring forward because of workers’ sleep loss, but there is no compensatory benefit in the autumn when clocks fall back. Estimates of potential lives saved from driver and pedestrian fatalities with later sunsets range from 180 people per year to 366—the equivalent of saving a life every day.So there’s a clear benefit to keeping one time allyear, and the question is: Which time do we pick?

A look at the map suggests we’re currently in the wrong time zone entirely. Boston lies so far east in the Eastern Time Zone that during standard time, our earliest nightfall of the year is a mere 27 minutes later than in Anchorage. When it comes to daylight, we can do much better than Alaska.

Fortunately for us, there’s already a time zone one hour ahead of Eastern: the Atlantic Time Zone.

Switching to Atlantic Standard Time—essentially, keeping the clock an hour forward all year—wouldn’t be nearly as radical a change as it sounds. As it is, we’re actually only on Eastern Standard Time for about four months per year, from early November until early March. In the spring, summer, and early fall we’re on Eastern Daylight Time, which is the same as AST.



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