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News 2009

News and views from the anti-daylight saving front

The following are a small selection of anti-daylight saving developments, drawn from readers' emails, public domain media releases, and other related websites and information sources.

United States , June 2009

Research reveals spike in workplace accidents after forward clock change

Adding to the considerable body of published research on the link between the DLS forward clock change and increases in road accidents, new research now points to problems in workplace safety.

The new research is based on 24 years of data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration and has been conducted by psychology PhD students Christopher Barnes and David Wagner.

The researchers found that, in comparison to other days of the year, the first work day after the forward clock change in March results in an average 40 minutes less sleep, leading to a 5.7% increase in workplace injuries and nearly 68% more work days lost to injuries.

The research found no ill effects of daylight-saving time in November, when the clocks move back.

Related reading:

'Time change increases accidents,' Jared Shelly, Human Resources Online, 11 June 2009

New South Wales, June 2009

NSW shires lobby for shorter daylight saving

At the annual conference of the NSW Shires Association held in Sydney, a majority of shires resoundingly voted to lobby the State Government and State Opposition to wind back daylight saving to the original 4-month period. The Association, which promotes the interests of regional councils, intends to lobby the major political parties to take on the issue as a policy platform in the next state election.

Since its introduction to NSW in 1971, two month-long extensions have been introduced without referendum and despite overwhelming regional opposition - in 1996 and 2009. The current annual daylight saving period is now 6 months.

Related reading:

'Shires support call to wind back daylight saving,' ABC News, 11 June 2009

Shires Association of NSW

Western Australia, 16 May 2009

Fourth No-vote daylight saving referendum win in 34 years!

West Australians have voted against daylight saving after a three-year trial which bitterly divided the state.

In its strongest DS referendum result yet, the No vote scored just under 55% of the vote. West Australians have previously voted on the issue in referendums in 1975, 1984 and 1992.

Related reading:

2009 daylight saving referendum, Western Australian Electoral Commission

'WA voters reject daylight saving,' ABC News, 16-17 May 2009

Light of Day comment:

Congratulations to the WA No lobby, led mainly by the Farmers Federation, the Nationals and Labor metropolitan MP Andrew Waddell, which maintained a very strong campaign in the regional areas and a significant profile in Perth.

Alaska, 25 March 2009

House Passes Bill Exempting Alaska From Daylight-Saving Time, moves to Senate

A bill repealing daylight saving time in Alaska is on its way to the Alaskan State Senate, after being passed in the House 22-15 on 25 March.

According to End Daylight Saving Alaska :

'[The bill] HB19 moved through the Senate State Affairs Committee. Two additional hearings remain.The Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee (CRA) and the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee (L&C) must hold hearings. These two hearings and a floor vote in the Senate must be held by the end of the second session of this Legislature. The second session will be held next year starting in January 2010.'

Related reading:

End Daylight Saving Alaska

'Bills would end Daylight Saving Time', Anchorage Daily News, 25 March 2009

Light of Day comment:

Without wanting to get too carried away, this is very exciting news on the anti-daylight saving front. So far, virtually no US anti-daylight saving Bills have ever been able to get beyond the Committee stage. More often than not, they are quietly shelved without even getting to a vote. Not only was this bill voted on in the House, it was actually passed by a substantial majority.

Minneapolis, USA, March 2009

Free coffee to cope with daylight saving change

As North Americans proceed to change their clocks this weekend (8 March), the Caribou Coffee Co. is offering a free cup of expresso to help people cope if they lack a little spring in their 'spring forward'.

The offer is available at any of the company's Caribou Coffee lounges throughout Sunday and Monday.

Related reading:

'Caribou: Free expresso for daylight saving time,' 6 March, 2009

Light of Day comment: Why should anyone need coffee when they've got all that extra daylight to boost them? Isn't daylight supposed to already be an upper?

Michigan USA , February 2009

Global financial crisis: Chrysler deems clock changing too expensive

Embattled car manufacturing giant, Chrysler LLC, has removed hundreds of clocks from the walls of its Detroit headquarters, telling workers to check the time on their watches, phones or computers.

By taking down the clocks, maintenance staff no longer have to reset them twice a year when the time changes to daylight saving time and back.

The move is part of its program of dramatic cost-cutting measures, after receiving $5 billion in Federal government loans to stay in business. Other cost-cutting moves include halving its number of light bulbs and lowering the temperature in its buildings.

Related reading:

'Chrysler scraps clocks in race against time,' Reuters, 27 February 2009

Light of Day comment:

We live in surreal times! Not only are our captains of industry actually admitting that a little government regulation is not so bad after all, they are starting to admit that all this forward and back clock-changing is both unnecessary and costly.

Western Australia, February 2009

Beachside diners shun dark mornings

Perth's beachside cafes are losing business as the dark mornings of the late-annual DST period kick in. There has been a downturn in breakfast and coffee trade through the entire daylight-saving period as customers are put off by the darker mornings.

With its sunrises now moving beyond 7am, Perth has the latest dawn of all the major capital cities. By the end of the DST period, sunrise in Perth will be as late as 7.24am, almost seven minutes after its latest winter dawn.

The Western Australian government voted in a three-year daylight saving trial in 2007. A statewide daylight saving referendum - its fourth in 30 years - will be held on 16 May.

Related reading:

'Diners take dim view of late dawn,' The West Australian, 24 February 2009

Light of Day comment:

Perth's beaches in the early morning are among the most beautiful places on earth to be. Why plunge them into darkness?

Most upbeat commentary about all the advantages of daylight saving's lighter evenings concentrate almost exclusively on those few short weeks at the height of summer. They ignore the increasingly dark mornings in those last few weeks of the annual daylight saving period, which create a lifestyle Purgatory. At the end of the day, the sun is setting earlier anyway - so in what part of the day does the real lifestyle advantage fall?

Western Australia, January 2009

Perth Now political analyst slams daylight saving

One of the Western Australian media's top political analysts, Dr Peter van Onselen, has spoken out against daylight saving in an opinion piece for Perth Now, one of the two newspapers that spearheaded the DLS-trial campaign.

Van Onselen, who is also an associate professor of politics and government at Edith Cowan University, praised his media employer for allowing him to publish his opinion:

'This newspaper has been engaged in a campaign to introduce daylight saving since 2005. I don't agree, but at least it is committed to balance by allowing me to mount the case against it.'

Dr Onselen lists several anti-daylight saving factors such as the state's size, which puts many residents on DLS already, and Perth's westerly position. He also slams the WA government's decision to foist yet another referendum on its population.

Related reading:

'Why light at night doesn't belong in WA,' Perth Now, 31 January 2009

Light of Day comment:

Light of Day also commends Perth Now for allowing Dr Onselen to publish his opinion, despite its history of heavily campaigning for daylight saving. The profound lack of official editorial coverage of the more than justifiable anti-daylight saving case is not something the Australian media can be proud of.

Western Australia, January 2009

Daylight saving referendum fixed for 16 May

It's finally happening.

West Australian voters will go to the polls on 16 May to decide on their fourth daylight saving referendum in 34 years, marking the end of a three-year trial on the issue.

The question to be asked will be:

Do you want daylight saving operating from the last Sunday in October through to the last Sunday in March?

Similar referendums were held in 1975, 1984 and 1992 – all of which were rejected.

The state's premier, Colin Barnett, has declared that he expects to vote No as he is 'a morning person'.

Further reading:

'Daylight saving on May 16,', 27 January

Light of Day comment:

Here's hoping that WA voters are aware that they are being sweetened into answering what is essentially a trick question.

The dates specified in the question mean that WA would start its annual DLS period 3 weeks later than the other DLS states and end it one week earlier. This keeps the door well and truly open for the government to extend the annual DLS period down the track by a simple parliamentary or Cabinet vote without any community consultation - in the interests of 'uniformity.

This process has happened over and over again in the DLS states since its introduction.

The question is no doubt being framed in this way to increase the chances of a Yes vote. The late spring and autumn sunrises in WA under the DLS trial, especially on Perth's westerly longitude, have proved to be very unpopular, even in the normally pro-DLS business community.