Bill would end Daylight Saving Time in California

photo of clockStaff photo

The sun could soon set on the annual switch from standard to daylight time in the spring and the return to standard time in the fall. Like splitting the state into several parts, it’s one of those issues that has been discussed and argued about for years but never gets much beyond the talking phase.

That could change under AB 807, a bill introduced by Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose). It would empower voters to repeal the Daylight Saving Time Act, which was approved in 1949.

Don’t change your clocks just yet, though. The measure must clear the Senate and the Assembly and be approved by voters. Congress would then have to authorize California to make the change. Given the current tensions between Washington and California, that’s probably not something that will be at the top of the to-do list.

Just to be clear, Chu’s bill wouldn’t eliminate daylight time, it would in effect eliminate standard time. We’d be on daylight time all year.  Chu says the whole time-switching routine goes back to World War I as an effort to save energy — a goal that no longer applies.

“Studies today illustrate that there is little to no energy savings. In reality, switching our clocks twice a year directly impacts our health, as well as leads to increased crime and traffic,” Chu said. Studies have found that the switch to and from daylight time can affect not just mood and sleep patterns but has also been linked to traffic accidents, heart attacks and other more serious effects.

One study found a 6 percent increase in auto accidents in the first weeks after the time change. Over the ten years covered by the study, that translates to 300 deaths. In Finland, researchers looked at a decade of stroke data and found the incidence of ischemic stroke was 8 per cent higher during the first two days after a time switch.

Not only that but Chu claims the switch “leads to increased crime and traffic.”