The European Union is gearing up to end the yearly change in hours due to Daylight Saving Time. As of October 2019, the EU will function with a single yearly time schedule.
And good riddance.
In a historic announcement on Sept. 14th, EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, told assembled reporters that the European Union will no longer observe Daylight Savings as of October 2019.
Previously, all European Union countries followed the old habit of dialing clocks an hour ahead on the last Sunday of March and then turning them back again come the last Sunday of October. But after a public consultation, this practice will be abolished and member states will remain on a single yearly time schedule.
The public consultation consisted of an online survey where 84% of the 4.6 million people who responded said to kick Daylight Saving to the curb. Proponents argue that it wastes valuable time and causes undue scheduling headaches when people inevitably forget to correct their watches.
On top of that, studies have shown greater rates of both heart attacks and car accidents during the March transition where an hour of sleep is lost.
Opponents of the measure say that most of the respondents came from Germany and because the survey was online most of them were relatively young, thus not making a representative sample of the EU’s population.
Member states will have until April of 2019 to decide whether they want to remain on “summer time” or “winter time” permanently. Parliament is recommending that all states decide on “summer time” so as to prevent the scenario where neighboring countries are separated by an hour.
In the United States, Daylight Savings began in 1916 but wasn’t federally standardized until 1966. The argument for Daylight Savings was mostly in response to energy concerns. Lighting was expensive, and having an extra hour of daylight during waking hours often meant large savings on energy costs. It was also just nice to get out from your nine-to-five job to more daylight.
However, in the age of LEDs, the argument that lighting is expensive just doesn’t hold water. The cost to light homes is certainly outweighed by the social costs brought on by “springing forward” every spring. The EU is the first political entity to both acknowledge and do something about it.