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EDITORIAL

Goodbye, DST, hello to same old time zone debate

Monday, November 4, 2013 - 8:46 am

But the issue has been settled, so maybe it's time to move on.

Welcome back to normal time. We all set the clocks back an hour Sunday for the yearly end of daylight saving time. Did you enjoy the extra hour of sleep this morning, or does your head hurt? According to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, DST changes can trigger cluster headaches in some people that can last for six to eight weeks.

Or perhaps you have a headache from the time-wasting efforts to get all of Indiana to change to the Central time zone. A new debate on the issue is triggered twice every year, once when DST begins and again when it ends. This year, the Central Time Coalition (yes, there is such a creature) sent a petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation arguing that dividing the state into two time zones is detrimental for several reasons, including the fact that “it complicates business travel and exacerbates the effects of jet lag.”

Now, we like a good debate as well as the next editorial page, but not over issues that are settled and should be left behind. As the Department of Transportation itself said back in 2007, the department would not “consider petitions for time changes in Indiana for at least one year in order to minimize the disruption and allow DOT and the communities to assess the impact of the changes.” As a wit at the time remarked, “One might interpret that as bureaucratic speak for ‘Enough is enough! We’re tired of dealing with your time feuds.’”

The DOT has not been heard from since. Hint, hint.

It took decades and decades of wrangling back and forth by politicians to get conservative Hoosiers to accept the daylight saving time practice that had been adopted by 47 other states. In the seven years since, Indiana has not become an economic utopia, as then-Gov. Mitch Daniels and some other DST cheerleaders predicted, but neither have our children been mowed down by the scores while waiting for school buses in the dark, as some critics warned.

But our lives have been simplified. Yes, some of us are still out of sync with some of the rest of the country, but always by the same amount of time. There’s no longer a need to look at our watches and calendars and do complicated math to figure out how far apart we are on any given day.

So life is good, but apparently not good enough for some people, who want to go from simpler to simplest.

But the reality remains that we are a state that borders on other states that have differing time zones. Border counties will of necessity want to be on the same time as the states they’re next to.

That’s life. Deal with it. Do something more productive with that extra hour.