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Senate unanimously approves making Daylight Savings Time permanent

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill in an unanimous voice vote that would make daylight savings time permanent, potentially putting an end to the twice-annual time changes. Called the Sunlight Protection Act, the bill will now go to the House, and if passed, will head to President Joe Biden’s desk for approval.  The federal legislation comes after around 30 states have passed legislation to make it daylight savings time year-round. If passed by the House and signed into law by Biden, the practice of changing the clocks will be ended across the United States.

The system began in the United States in 1918, and was originally put into place by Germany to conserve fuel during World War I.  Subsequently, the time change was adopted by the rest of Europe before being picked up by the United States in the Standard Time Act. Since then, Americans have changed their clocks twice every year under the assumption that it helps to conserve energy.

According to a Department of Transportation study from 1975, the United States used around one percent less energy during daylight savings time. However, a 2006 study in Indiana found that the opposite was true: rather than cutting down on energy usage, it actually increases by about one percent during daylight savings time months.

Supporters of daylight savings time credit the time change with helping to reduce crime as it increases daylight hours, making it harder for criminals to go undetected. It has also been credited with helping to reduce traffic accidents, as drivers are better able to see.  On the flip side, those in support of the Sunlight Protection Act say that it would help Americans to avoid the psychological consequences of daylight savings time, which has been shown by some research to exacerbate seasonal depression.

Editorial credit: ItzaVU / Shutterstock.com

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