Don't Sleep on Prop 7

“Spring forward, fall back” may be a saying that will soon become extinct in California. Proposition 7 calls for a repeal of the state’s 1949 Daylight Saving Time Act, which forces people to change their clocks when the seasons change in November and March, and instead keep times set permanently. Is the time change really that annoying to have to vote whether or not we get rid of it? A lot of Californians seem to think so. 

In comparison to other propositions, this one isn’t as serious of an issue on the surface. However, there has been research to show a correlation between an increase in the amount of traffic accidents, strokes, and heart attacks immediately following clock adjustments, all due to losing an hour of sleep. This loss of sleep greatly affects adolescents, whose developing brains need a full 8 or 9 hours every night. As an intense advocate for sleeping, I’m definitely no stranger to the morning struggle after the clocks “spring forward.” And that’s only natural, because our body’s circadian rhythm doesn’t follow the change as easily as clocks do. 

Opponents of Prop 7, however, insist that if California is permanently on Daylight Savings Time (DST) or Pacific Standard Time (PST) year-round, we would be out of sync with the rest of the country, who would still strictly follow the DST Act. This can make things pretty complicated for businesses who need to coordinate conference calls or deadlines with corporations in other states as they continue to spring forward and fall back. Similarly, it may also be costly for airlines who have to change their flight schedules. In 2005, when Daylight Saving Time was extended for a month, the Air Transport Association claimed that it would cost $147 million alone to line up travel schedules with international flights. At the cost of having longer days in the summer, there is now a concern in public safety and an increase in the risk of traffic accidents that can happen as a result of repealing the DST Act. Since the sun rises an hour later in the winter, children would be walking, waiting for the bus, or biking to school in the dark, which taps on the fear of many anxious parents across California. 

Voting ‘yes’ on the ballot really only propagates further debate on the issue and can maybe even further research on the topic without any direct fiscal effect for the government. Proposition 7 enables the opportunity for Legislature to give a two-thirds vote in order to stop following the 1949 DST Act. If acquired, California Legislature has many options. They can either decide to have permanent Daylight Saving Time or Pacific Standard Time year-round, or change the period in which Daylight Saving Time is followed, but ultimately the federal government has to put its stamp of approval on whatever they choose. Otherwise, voting ‘no’ will just keep things the way they are, and as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Nevertheless, whether or not you vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on November 6th, Proposition 7 requires just as much research and consideration as the other propositions as it can affect your future well-being. Vote wisely!