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Florida wants to keep daylight saving time, doctors say that's deadly

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Staff Writer | March 9, 2018
Most of the U.S.is to go forward on Sunday, moving clocks up one hour to observe daylight saving time.
Weather   Monday after the springtime switch is dangerous
If Sunshine State legislators get their way, Floridians won't be falling back. By overwhelming, bipartisan majorities, the normally fractious Senate and House agreed this week to make Florida the first in the nation to adopt year-round daylight saving time statewide.

It would mean later sunrises and sunsets from November to March, peak tourist season for many beach cities.

Sen. Greg Steube, the lead sponsor, said Floridians are tired of going "back and forth" and changing their clocks, internal and external, twice a year.

The Sarasota Republican also says the "Sunshine Protection Act " could boost the economy as winter sunsets would be about 6:30 p.m., not 5:30. That might create more post-work shopping and tourists might stay later at theme parks and beaches.

For almost half the school year, it would also mean thousands more children would go to school in the dark. The Florida PTA said Friday that the change would endanger students, and is asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto the bill.

If Scott does sign it, the change would still need congressional approval, which means it likely wouldn't happen until 2019 at the earliest, if ever.

But adopting year-round daylight time would mean some downsides for Florida too.

From early November until early March, when it's noon in Eastern cities like Atlanta, Washington, New York, Boston and Moose River, Maine, it would be 1 p.m. in most of Florida, possibly causing confusion. The Panhandle is on Central time, so during the winter Pensacola and its neighbors would be on Eastern time.

Each year, on the Monday after this springtime switch, hospitals report a 24 percent spike in heart attack visits around the country. Doctors see the opposite trend in the fall: on the Tuesday after we turn back the clocks, heart attack visits drop 21 percent as people get a little extra pillow time.

Researchers estimate that car crashes in the U.S. caused by sleepy daylight-saving drivers likely cost 30 extra people their lives over the nine-year period from 2002-2011.