Full disclosure: I feel that in a technologically advanced world where commerce operates 24/7, daylight savings time (DST) has lost its usefulness, if it had any to begin with. That also seems to be the view of the European Parliament as it has just voted to abolish DST (called Summer Time there).
Last year we reported that the European Commission had proposed ending daylight savings time in EU member states. The proposed scrapping of the seasonal time change was set to occur on March 31, 2019, but was waiting on approval by the European Parliament.
After months of debate, the ruling body has come to a decision. Parliament ruled in favor of abolishing daylight savings time across Europe. Bloomberg notes, member states will now have until 2021 to decide whether they will remain on summer time or winter time.
The change was partly prompted by a survey conducted among 4.6 million Europeans, 84 percent of which said they were opposed to seasonal time shifts. Public opinion was not the only reasoning.
"Our main finding is that --- contrary to the policy's intent --- DST increases residential electricity demand. Estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent."
One of the cited motives the practice was started was to conserve energy. However, recent studies have shown energy savings between regions on daylight time and those that stay on standard time are negligible to nil and may actually increase energy consumption in some cases.
There is little to no evidence that seasonal time shifts of one hour create any tangible benefits. On the contrary, the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health have published numerous papers on the negative impacts of daylight savings.
More than one study has shown that fatal traffic accidents increase during the shift to and from DST. Other research has linked the time change to poor work performance. There is even one postulating increased cancer risks due to the time shifts fouling up normal circadian rhythms.
Studies aside, very few people in Europe, or even in the United States for that matter, see any valid point for changing their clocks twice a year. In the US, Arizona abolished DST in 1968 and has not financially collapsed, fallen into the center of the earth, or suffered any other imaginary boogieman. So kudos to the EU for finally abandoning an archaic and useless custom.
Lead Image via BT