A Legislator Proposes Permanent Day Light Savings Time
November 1, 2021
Clocks officially “fall back” by one hour at 2 am on the first Sunday in November. On November 6, the sun will set at 5:47 pm — permitting daylight for an after-work walk or run. But when the suns sets in Montgomery at 4:46 pm on November 7, some folks will wake up in the dark, go to work, then come home in the dark.
Days will continue to get shorter, with the sun setting as early as 4:29 pm from December 3 until December 21 when the winter solstice arrives. Although the winter solstice means the start of winter, it also means the return of more sunlight. The length of days will begin to increase until the summer solstice on June 21.
Bill would enact permanent daylight saving time
New Jersey has a bill pending in the state legislature that seeks to keep New Jersey on daylight saving time year round. State Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-District 15, Hunterdon and Mercer) introduced the bill in 2020. It provides for the state to remain on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), eliminating the four months of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
During the pandemic, the bill did not seem so important. However, the bill does cite multiple reasons to enact this change. The biannual change of time between EST and EDT is “disruptive to commerce ... safety, and health. The time shift has a substantial negative influence on the risk of heart attack. It has also caused more fatal car crashes due to sleep deprivation, and more driving during dark hours.
A 2004 study by Rutgers University revealed that following permanent daylight savings, 12-months a year, would reduce pedestrian fatalities by 171 per year and car crash fatalities by 195 per year. Another study showed daylight saving time reduced crashes at dusk by providing better visibility for drivers.
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Other states have similar bills pending. And five states — Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Montana — have approved legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. According to the federal Uniform Time Act of 1966, states are not allowed to establish permanent Daylight Saving Time without amending the federal law. The bills are therefore contingent on federal action. The government of Canada has allowed the provinces of Saskatchewan and Yukon to adopt permanent daylight saving.
The US federal government allows Hawaii, and most of Arizona to not observe Daylight Saving Time at all. Puerto Rico also does not observe DST. Clocks in New Jersey must be set ahead again on March 13 — 126 days after turning them back. Daylight Saving Time in 2022 will end on November 6.