END DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME CHANGES IN TENNESSEE
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The changing of the clocks—which happened once again Sunday morning—is wasteful, unnecessary, and even dangerous.
Most of the people of the State of Tennessee live in the extreme eastern portion of the Central Time Zone. This is a vast time zone, extending over 1200 miles westward, all the way to El Paso, TX - where it gets dark more than 2 full hours after it does in Nashville every day. For Western and Middle Tennesseans, moving the clocks back an hour in the fall means it is getting dark before most people are even off work. Around 4:30 dusk arrives, and before 5 PM, it's already pitch dark, from November all the way through February.
Driving home from work in the dark is simply more dangerous than driving home when there's still an hour of daylight left. It's harder for most people to see clearly, for starters. Many people see perfectly well during daylight hours, yet struggle to see anything clearly when it's dark, and a significant portion of the population are literally blinded when facing the glare of headlights, taillights, street lights, neon signs, and even flashing emergency-vehicle lights. I know I personally have witnessed a noticeable increase in traffic accidents, including serious injuries and fatalities, immediately following the time change in the fall, every year. I have also noticed that many animals are taken by surprise by this change, as the number of accidents involving cars striking deer, dogs, and other animals in the roadway rises immediately following this time change, year in and year out. I am not alone; countless people have agreed that they notice the same things, and I'm confident state statistics regarding vehicular accidents immediately before vs. immediately after changing the clocks back an hour will support these observations - and probably quite starkly, in terms of increase. Furthermore, and contrary to popular belief, changing the time actually does not conserve energy (people turn MORE lights on when it's dark, and use MORE heat when it's chilly due to lack of sunshine, for two examples), and serves no good purpose for the schoolkids or farmers of Western and Middle Tennessee either, as it's still going to be light enough to see comfortably by 6:45 every morning, even without implementing the annual time change in the fall.
On top of the safety issues outlined above, there are numerous quality-of-life issues at stake here as well. Sudden changes involving daylight that disrupt the mammalian circadian cycle don't just confuse animals and endanger their lives, (and human lives in the process); in humans the backwards time change also has been proven to cause depression, unhappiness, suicidal thoughts, increase in actual suicide numbers, violence and sudden death. By limiting options for outdoor activity during evening hours, changing the time back an hour has been shown to be a direct contributor to our state's well-known and well-documented, higher-than-average levels of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; all of which are very likely exacerbated by the general sense of lethargy brought on by living through dark, gloomy afternoons, day after day, for months at a time, year in, year out.
Let's cut to the chase. I know I don't want to leave work just to drive home in the dark, and get home well after dark. It's dangerous and depressing. In late December, it's already getting dark even on the rare days I can leave work early - even by 4 PM! I have talked to so many people who feel the same way that I think real voter support for this change would be overwhelming if presented on a ballot.
Please do the right thing for the people of Tennessee who are in the Central Time Zone. Let's make the change to permanently resort back to Spring/Summer hours - known as Daylight Saving Time - immediately, and forever end the twice-yearly clock changes once and for all after this change. This will stabilize our circadian rhythms by our usual daytime activity being more in tune with natural light cycles here. This will also very likely increase outdoor and physical activity, improve mood for large numbers of people, and support better overall health of millions of Tennesseans. I believe it will also protect and save lives, and improve the general quality of life throughout Tennessee's Central Time Zone, by helping make the evening commute a much safer proposition for all. Last but certainly not least, the majority of the people of the Great State of Tennessee will be forever grateful to you, our elected officials, for listening to your voters and taking this bold, forward-thinking step to end the needless time changes twice a year for good.
Darren Singleton, CISSP CISM
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