The Sunshine Protection Act could decrease the number of deer-vehicle collisions each year
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People across the U.S., Oregon residents included, could soon experience their last ever daylight saving time — the biyearly clock change that experts say disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle, increases heart attack risks and leads to wildlife-vehicle collisions.
On Sunday, March 12, clocks in nearly every state — with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii — will jump one hour ahead from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.
According to National Geographic, the initial purpose of daylight saving time was to give people an extra hour of sunlight following their work day.
Although there are some benefits to the clock change, such as the additional serotonin and vitamin D humans can produce with increased daylight, studies have said the ‘spring forward’ does more harm than it does good.
One particular study in scientific journal Current Biology focuses on how daylight saving time causes a surge in car crashes. The move from daylight saving time to standard time each fall leads to a 16% growth in deer-vehicle collisions, according to the researchers.
“By reducing traffic after dark, our model predicts that year-round daylight saving time would prevent 36,550 deer (Odocoileus sp.) deaths, 33 human deaths, 2,054 human injuries, and US$1.19 billion in collision costs annually,” the study said.
The increase in car crashes is just one reason why many lawmakers are pushing for the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent.
When U.S. Sen. Marc Rubio introduced the bill in 2022, it unanimously passed through the Senate. However, The Hill reported that the act never made it to the House because lawmakers were prioritizing other issues such as gun violence and reproductive rights.
Sen. Rubio recently reintroduced the bill in the Senate, and his efforts have received support from several other senators — including Oregon’s Ron Wyden.
“It’s time to put a stop to the twice-a-year time-change madness,” Sen. Wyden said in a statement. “Science and common sense show that more year-round daylight would improve our health, help kids spend a bit more time enjoying outdoor after school activities, and encourage folks to support local businesses while on a sunny stroll in their communities.”