A bill to maintain standard time year-round in Washington is making progress as it moves through the legislature.
Senate Bill 5795 was presented to the State Government and Elections Committee on Tuesday. If approved, it would establish year-round Pacific Standard Time. This would eliminate the need for the time change in the spring and allow Washington to maintain 4 p.m. sunsets during the winter months while forfeiting the 10 p.m. sunsets in the summer.
The main sponsors of the bill, Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) and Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), emphasize that the decision to remain on permanent standard time is driven by the goal of safeguarding people’s health.
According to a bill, it has been found through research that the biannual practice of switching to and from daylight saving time has detrimental effects on public health, leading to an increase in traffic accidents and crime.
It also disrupts agricultural scheduling and hinders economic growth. The bill references a study conducted by the University of Washington (UW), which has linked this clock switching to a higher risk of heart attacks, more workplace injuries, and increased suicide rates.
During the public hearing, individuals representing different perspectives presented their views to the state senators.
Jay Pea, the president of the nonprofit Save Standard Time, described Standard Time as the true time that is determined by the sun’s position in the sky. He referred to it as “God’s clock” due to its connection to nature.
According to sleep medicine specialist Ashish Kapoor, who is also a professor at UW, he shares the same sentiment.
According to Kapoor, our optimal health is influenced by our internal biological clock, which is regulated by sunlight. To ensure that our behaviors, such as sleep, work, physical activity, and eating, are in sync with this internal clock, we should follow standard time.
However, there were differing opinions among other University of Washington professors, such as Steve Calandrillo and Laura Prue.
Calandrillo warned lawmakers that if the bill is passed, the sunrise in June in Seattle would occur at 4 a.m. He emphasized the dangers of darkness, stating that it is more fatal at 5 p.m. compared to 5 a.m.
According to Prue, a wildlife professor, the deadly consequences are not limited to humans alone.
According to her, passing this bill would have negative consequences for both people and wildlife, as it would lead to an increase in deer-vehicle collisions. The analysis conducted revealed that under permanent Standard Time, the number of collisions would rise by 8%.
This implies that if the bill is approved, there would be an additional 2,240 theoretical collisions annually, resulting in 220 more collisions where people are injured and one to two more fatalities in deer-related accidents each year.
Public speakers from all sides of the debate unanimously agreed on one thing: the necessity to eliminate the practice of daylight saving time. In 2019, a bill was successfully passed in Washington to maintain permanent daylight saving time, ensuring that the region would not “fall back” in November and allowing for 5 p.m. sunsets throughout the winter months.
Despite being signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, the bill in Washington state is still awaiting a federal waiver from Congress in order to come into effect. Unfortunately, the process has been quite sluggish, resulting in the Evergreen State being stuck in a frustrating holding pattern.
However, implementing a shift to standard time, as suggested by SB 5795, does not necessitate any approval and can be implemented immediately.
If the bill is passed, Washington will fall back this November and then permanently remain in standard time. This will make Washington join Arizona and Hawaii as the only states to adopt standard time all year round.