Opinion

Standard time dangerous

The perennial argument between those who like daylight-saving time and those who like standard time usually boils down to a matter of personal preference. But a recent study indicates that more might be at stake.

According to research by professors at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, changing daylight-saving time translates into about 37 more U.S. pedestrian deaths around the 6 p.m. rush hour in November compared with October. While the study still is preliminary, it appears to confirm previous findings of higher deaths after clocks are set back in the fall.

The greatest increase in risk to pedestrians occurs at the time change. Researchers attribute that to the trouble both drivers and pedestrians have adjusting to the arrival of darkness an hour earlier.

But while the adjustment to the new schedule may be responsible for the highest risk, that risk still remains at least somewhat higher until April -- when, coincidentally, the nation switches back to daylight-saving time. The risk at 6 p.m. in November, after daylight-saving time ends, is 11 times higher than the risk for the same hour in April, when daylight savings begins.

Researchers estimate that about 200 lives could be saved a year by going to daylight-saving time year-round. That means the argument about time changes concerns more than mere personal preference.

That might not convince die-hard supporters of standard time, but it certainly should add weight to proposals by members of Congress who want to start daylight-saving time earlier and end it later -- or make it the new standard time all year.

The change to standard time in the fall creates makes crossing the street more hazardous.

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