Making a compromise with Daylight Savings

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

In response to the Detroit Free Press article on the front page of the weekend edition of the Pioneer, March 11-12; I suggest a compromise on the Daylight Saving Time issue.  It seems that compromise has become a dirty word in recent years, but finding the middle ground is what has made our democracy work for so many decades.

In the article, State Representative Pete Lucido suggested staying with DST year-round; and former State Rep. Jeff Irwin was quoted, “I must say, the recreation industry got to me and said, ‘Why not go to Daylight Saving Time all year?  That would be good for golfing and outdoor cafes and all kinds of activities because you’d have more evening hours.’”

The on-going mantra always seems to be that whatever is good for business is good for everybody.  Not so.

As a former elementary school teacher, I know that teachers hate the time change, especially the one in the spring.  Students’ schedules are disrupted causing poor attention, misbehavior, and decreased learning ability.

Going to year-round DST is dangerous for school children because for several months of the year they have to wait for school buses in complete darkness in the early morning hours.  I have first-hand knowledge of this because our son was in second grade when President Nixon mandated year-round DST circa 1973.  In pre-dawn darkness, our seven-year-old had to wait for the bus on the side of a busy road filled with commuters who weren’t too happy with starting their day in the dark either.  This was in Virginia on the eastern edge of the Eastern Time Zone when it was dark at 7 a.m.  With Michigan on the far edge of ETZ, it would be dark until 8 a.m.

DST is not great for all businesses.  It is unpopular with the dairy industry because as a dairy farmer friend said, “The cows don’t know what time it is.  They still have to be fed and milked on their schedule.”

The long days of sunlight are lovely in the summer months, but the winter evening hours aren’t so pleasant.  (In fact, I love the early darkness in winter because I don’t feel guilty about snuggling into my pajamas at 7 p.m.)

My suggestion for compromise is:  Shorten the months of DST.  Start at 2 a.m. Friday of Memorial weekend and end at 2 a.m. Friday of Labor Day weekend.  Changing the time on two national three-day holiday weekends would give most people a couple of extra days for their bodies to adjust and cause less disruption to schedules – and would certainly be safer for school children.

Afterthought:  The country has tried year-round DST in the early 1970’s. Why don’t we see any statistics on why that experiment lasted only one year?

Dianne Hill

Canadian Lakes

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