Hate having to change your clocks during Daylight Saving Time and adjusting to a new time change? According to recent legislation, Georgians may soon be able to vote on whether they want to continue springing forward and falling back, or switch to a new time change system.
Daylight Saving Time (DTS) is a seasonal time change where clocks set forward one hour from standard time in the spring and then back again in the fall. This time change method was put in place to make better use of daylight hours, but it has been controversial ever since it began.
The Georgia Senate recently passed Senate Bill 351 which calls for a nonbinding statewide advisory referendum that would ask Georgians to vote on whether or not to alter the current time system. On the ballot in November general election, Georgia voters will have the option to vote on whether the state should continue observing the current annual time change, switch between standard and daylight time or switch to a year-round daylight saving time.
Several states have already voted on new time changes that have gone on to Congress for approval. Arizona and Hawaii have both switched to standard time while California, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Maine have chosen to observe DST year-round. Of course, this decision doesn’t come without several mixed opinions.
The biggest concern regarding DST is the effects on health and safety. Toggling the clocks back and forth may not seem like a big deal, but that one hour change from standard to daylight saving can make a huge difference. Disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm can have serious impacts on their health and well-being. Studies have even shown a significant increase in health issues like heart attacks and strokes, as well as car accidents and other injuries, occur more frequently the week after switching times due to short-term sleep deprivation.
Despite the cons against keeping DST, the majority of Georgians wish to continue observing it. Many legislators are concerned about how the local economy would be affected if the state switched from DST considering more daylight hours means more people staying out later and increasing sales for businesses. Supporters of DST also argue that the current time change promotes a safer lifestyle overall. Longer daylight hours make driving safer which means lower car accident rates and less risk of pedestrians being hit. Daylight hours are also safer for those spending time in the evening jogging, walking the dog or playing outside due to increased visibility and lower criminal activity.
Since the vote is nonbinary, a change would not be made immediately. Instead, if voters indicate they would like to switch to a different time change, the vote would be used to draft future legislation that reflects that decision. A decision to change the DST would require the legislation will have to go to Congress for approval, while a change to standard time would not. At the moment, Congress is not making time change approvals a high priority. This means Georgians should continue to expect to set their clocks back and forth a bit longer.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the time change referendum?