We are mere days away from the change. In the middle of the night as we transition from Saturday to Sunday, the time on our clocks will change. The irony is that as we transition to Daylight Saving Time, we lose an hour.
It’s just an hour. No big deal, right?
Cue a parable.
One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.
Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing.
Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.
The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”
In a study published in 2014, Spring Forward at Your Own Risk: Daylight Saving Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes, the researcher found the spring transition into Daylight Saving Time increases fatal crash risk by 5.4-7.6%. Further, the study found the impact persists for the first six days of Daylight Savings Time.
In another study, Fatal accidents following changes in daylight savings time: the American experience, the researchers found “the sleep deprivation on the Monday following shift to DST in the spring results in a small increase in fatal accidents. There was also a significant increase in number of accidents on the Sunday of the fall shift from DST “
And finally, a researcher from the University of British Columbia reviewed the Canadian experience. The results from his analysis echoes the findings described above. A notable and significant increase, about 8%, immediately following the Spring shift, and a similarly significant, but slightly delayed, shift in the Fall.
The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic!
The debate in this year’s legislative session in Texas is about to begin in earnest. We must keep in mind the attitude of the child in the starfish parable. Ending Daylight Saving Time may be inconvenient for many as all change is, but for some it is deadly. And for the loved ones left behind it is tragic.