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Let’s spring forward — and not turn back

Pass the Sunshine Protection Act, and make this weekend the last time we have to change time.

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It is never easy to give up an hour of sleep, and it will be even harder this weekend, after an exhausting year of dealing with a deadly global pandemic. But spring forward we must, as our cell phones automatically adjust to change time forward one hour Sunday morning, and we must fiddle with the coffee makers and desk clocks that require us to make the change manually.

There is no better time for lawmakers to act on an issue that not only enjoys bipartisan support but will also literally allow them to bring more light into the lives of Americans: Pass the Sunshine Protection Act, and make this the last time we have to change time.


That law would make daylight saving time permanent.

Daylight saving time is known to be notoriously unpopular around the globe. But most of the things people dislike about it have nothing to do with daylight saving time at all — they have to do with the biannual switch back and forth to and from standard time that grants us an extra hour of rest in late October and leaves us more bleary-eyed on the second Sunday morning of March.

That switch isn’t just unpleasant — it can also be unhealthy and downright dangerous.

That’s especially true in the spring.

Research shows that changing clocks has a detrimental effect on the nation’s workforce. The resulting average loss of 40 minutes of sleep for most workers only serves to make offices — or often, these days, homes — less productive the following Monday after tuning clocks forward.

It also leads to a spike in workplace injuries in March and a resulting surge in loss of work due to those injuries, according to a study in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Applied Psychology. That adds up to a total loss of 2,600 workdays in productivity — just on the Monday after the March time change. A survey by Chmura Economics & Analytics estimated that the price tag on that loss amounts to $430 million a year.


It gets worse. The spring time change also leads to an increase in fatal car crashes, heart attacks, and depression, among other health and safety hazards.

But the bill, whose sponsors include Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Malden and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, would put an end to that dangerous time volley. It will also mean that sunsets come a little later in the day during the winter, which in Boston and the rest of New England, in particular, would make a big difference.

“My goal is just to turn DST from daylight saving to darkness stops today,” Markey said Wednesday.

Markey, who, as a member of the House, led legislation over the years to extend Daylight saving time by seven additional weeks, said he would support a plan for Massachusetts and other neighboring states to essentially achieve the same goal by permanently adopting Atlantic Standard Time year-round, as recommended by a commission that studied the issue in 2017. But a bill to enact such a law has languished on Beacon Hill.

Markey said the federal route is better anyway.

“I think, in general, we are better off making it a national law,” Markey said, noting that the expected positive impact on the US economy is one reason why the measure enjoys bipartisan support.


Already, 15 states have enacted laws that would hold them on daylight saving time, either with approval from Congress or if neighboring states adopt similar laws too. Neither Hawaii nor most of Arizona change time, essentially because they both get plenty of daylight without it.

It’s time for Congress to save the rest of us from falling back ever again.

Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us on Twitter at @GlobeOpinion.