California Legislators Introduce Daylight Saving Time Bill in Response to Overwhelming Voter's Approval

Monday, December 3, 2018

CONTACT: Annie Pham, (916) 319-2025

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – In response to vast support by voters, Assemblymembers Kansen Chu, Lorena Gonzalez and Jay Obernolte introduced Assembly Bill 7 to put California on permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST). Studies show that the time switches, which happen twice a year in March and November, negatively impact public health and safety including links to increasing heart attacks, strokes, crimes and traffic accidents.
“The voters have spoken and they are telling lawmakers that spring forward and fall back should be eliminated,” said Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose). “California has consistently been one step ahead on many issues and for a practice with such negative impacts, it is surprising that we didn’t do away with it sooner. I am excited to co-author this legislation with my colleagues from Southern California and look forward to moving California to Daylight Saving Time all year round.”
“The voters have spoken and now it’s time for the Legislature to eliminate the unnecessary time change that harms the health and safety of Californians,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).
“Not only is switching our clocks back and forth an inconvenience, research shows that it is actually hazardous to our health. The data demonstrates a substantial increase in adverse health and public safety impacts due to the time change. Clearly, our bodies do not respond well to this jarring shift twice a year,” said Assemblymember Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake).
The practice of switching our clocks twice a year dates back to World War I and II. During World War I, President Wilson adopted the practice to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. California became one of the first states to pass a law on DST, and in 1966 the federal government passed the Uniform Time Act to create consistency among states. While DST was instituted to conserve energy, whether the practice still does is debatable. A Brookings Institute study found there are no actual energy savings under this time system.
Throughout the years, countless studies have shown the numerous adverse effects of switching our clocks twice a year and the benefits to daylight saving time. Specifically, these studies reveal the following health, safety and economic effects of our current system:
  • A decrease in robberies during the DST period: Robbery rates for the entire day drop 7 percent and for that extra evening hour gained when we switch the clock during DST - robbery rates dropped 27 percent.
  • The policy has significant electricity and environmental costs: A study in Indiana showed the policy costs residents $9 million per year in electricity bills. The same study found social costs of pollution range from $1.7 to $5.5 million per year, and suggests these costs would be higher for other states.
  • A significant increase in heart attack risk on the Monday following the time shift: Risk of heart attack increases by 25 percent the Monday following the switch.
  • Rates of fatal traffic accidents significantly increase on both the Monday after the shift to DST and the Sunday of the shift to standard time: National data showed an increase in accidents from the average of 78.2 to 83.5 on the “spring forward” Monday.
  • Rates of workplace injuries and work days lost increase due to sleep loss when we “spring forward”: Employees had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries the day following the loss of an hour of sleep when we shift to DST. Employees lost 67.6 percent more work days due to workplace injuries.
  • Daily card spending decreases during standard time compared to DST: A study of Los Angeles showed a 3.5 percent drop in per capita daily card spending during standard time. Specifically, grocery stores are critically impacted - losing 6 percent of daily retail, and retail and discount stores lose 4.5 percent in daily spending.