Medford resident David Miles grumbles every year about having to turn his clocks forward in the spring and back again in the fall.
This year, Miles decided to respond differently by launching a ballot initiative Nov. 12 to end daylight-saving time in Oregon.
“I complain almost every time there is a time change and do nothing about it, and I didn’t want to be that guy anymore,” he said.
A month later, Miles has 20 volunteers in 15 Oregon towns and cities who have gathered nearly 1,000 signatures — a first step toward placing an initiative on the ballot. He said he expects to hit the 1,000-signature mark by mid-December.
Once the volunteers pass that hurdle, they’ll need to round up a total of 117,578 signatures to send the measure to voters in November.
The proposal abolishes daylight-saving in 2018 and allows voters in individual counties to opt out through an election. Miles added that provision with Malheur County in mind. That county already follows Mountain time to be uniform with neighboring Idaho.
“The fringe benefit is other counties can decide to stay on daylight-saving time, through general county election,” Miles said.
Changing clocks back and forth is disruptive to internal body clocks, sleep patterns and can even be dangerous, he said.
A 2014 study by University of Colorado at Boulder found that fatal traffic accidents spike by 17 percent on the Monday after clocks spring forward.
Daylight-saving began in the United States in 1918 to conserve electricity during the final days of World War I. It became a permanent ritual in 1966 with passage of the Uniform Time Act. The federal legislation was designed to end a confusing patchwork of different time zones in the country but allowed individual states to opt out. Arizona, Hawaii and some U.S. territories have chosen to stay on standard time.
Nowadays, the time change fails to accomplish the goal of saving energy, Miles said.
A University of California Berkeley study found that a two-month extension of daylight-saving time in Australia during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 failed to curtail electricity demand.
Earlier this year, there were proposals in several states to end time changes by either remaining on daylight saving or adhering to standard time year-round, according to the Washington Post.
Oregon Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, introduced a bill in January that would have let voters to decide whether to abolish daylight saving in 2021.
Dozens of Oregonians testified in favor of the proposal.
Joanne DeWitt, one of those who submitted testimony, said daylight saving causes hazards while serving no purpose.
“I would like to see it go the way of other old dinosaurs,” DeWitt said.
The legislation stalled in the Senate Rules Committee. Some lawmakers were concerned about being out of sync with Washington and California, according to Thatcher’s office.
“I think once one state does it, the others will follow, and honestly, it isn’t that big of a deal,” Miles said “I have never heard people in Arizona say, ‘I hate being off time with Utah.’ They always laugh at the rest of the country at daylight-saving time.”
Albany resident Carrie Davis, one of the volunteer petitioners, said she has always hated daylight-saving time. Her opposition compounded when she had children.
“Now that I have kids, it is apparent to me when we try to change our daily schedule even by an hour, it is so impactful to our whole success through the day,” Davis said. “Trying to get a toddler to go to sleep an hour later or an hour earlier is just challenging, for a superficial social agreement we don’t need.”