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Friday, October 02, 2009

Central Time Coalition

The following letter/information was sent to Indiana Superintendents and School Board Members from Sue Dillon, chairperson of the Central Time Coalition (timezonematters@gmail.com):

"School has started for 1.35 million children in Indiana. The Central Time Coalition (CTC) is concerned about safety hazards to school children due to Indiana's abnormal amount of morning darkness and is calling for Indiana to be returned to its correct time zone, Central Time. Indiana is the only state in the USA that is totally in its wrong geographic time zone. For the first 78 years (1883-1961) all of Indiana was in the Central Time Zone - then Eastern Time began creeping in. The results are that school children have been run over, raped and robbed because they have no choice but to leave home in total darkness to wait for their school bus or walk along dark streets. While in August most Indiana children go to school in sunlight, come mid-October they will already be seated in their classrooms before the sun rises.

"The Indiana State School Bus Drivers Association supports the return to Central Time because it would shift a much needed hour of sunlight to the morning rush hour during the fall, winter and spring. Ron Chey, president of ISSBDA says, 'Safety for children is our primary concern and it is often difficult to see the children along dark streets and roads. One more hour of sunlight would greatly improve visibility as well as morning driving conditions for everyone.' Darkness in the morning is much more dangerous for students because they have to wait in the dark for their bus to arrive while in the evening, they can immediately walk home. Even though the sun would rise earlier on Central Time, most children would have been delivered before sunset.

"Many claim that being in Eastern Time benefits Indiana commerce and transportation. That may have been true in 1961, but not today. When asked, 'Does it make a difference to commerce and transportation whether Indiana is on Eastern or Central Time?' a former Indiana Director of Commerce and a president of a major trucking firm both said, "No, but it does make a difference and is important for Indiana to observe Daylight Saving Time.' CTC agrees that we all benefit from a healthy economy so we support observance of DST, but it should be Central Time with Central Daylight Saving Time.

"The difference between Eastern Time and Central Time for our Hoosier kids is the difference between night and day. The Coalition asks for your careful consideration of our unsafe time zone situation in Indiana and that you support the return of Indiana to Central Time."

Some Additional Information from the Central Time Zone Coalition
  • Every square inch of Indiana falls within the true boundaries of the Central Time Zone.
  • Nearly 1/5 of Hoosiers live in the 12 Indiana counties that are still on Central Time.
  • A shift from Eastern to Central Time would mean that sunrise and sunset would occur one (1) hour earlier on Indiana clocks.
  • 1-hour earlier sunrise would greatly assist visibility for drivers in seeing students.
  • Darkness reduces visibility for all drivers.
  • Black ice is primarily a morning darkness problem. Sunlight helps melt black ice thus one hour earlier sunrise would help reduce black ice danger for commuters.
  • Sunlight assists snow and ice melting chemicals in their effectiveness thus one hour earlier sunrise would make road conditions safer for commuters.
  • Morning fog often burns off in the first hour after sunrise.
  • Each hour of school delay due to unsafe travel conditions is an hour of classroom instruction that is lost.
  • One (1) additional hour of sunlight in the morning could reduce 2-hour delays due to fog/snow/ice to 1-hour delays.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

We have not had any 2-hour delays yet this year. I believe if we had been on central time, we may have had one or two based on fog thickening up before buses left for their routes.

Many of the accidents of which the Central Time Zone Coalition referred to happened in the winter months of January and February when it would be dark in either time zone.

Athletics would really suffer if we changed to the Central Time Zone. In the middle of winter, it would be getting dark as students leave school--which, in my opinion, would add to depression and also safety factors in the evening.

Obviously there are trade-offs. I like it the way it is.

Anonymous said...

When I drive to work in the morning, there are kids waiting for buses - and sometimes they are unsupervised in the road. When it is pitch black, it is very hard to see them. I have also come upon middle school kids riding bikes in the dark, and in town there are kids walking to school in dark clothes. I would rather have some light in the mornings. I'll take safety over athletics any day!

Anonymous said...

In another month it will be dark when the students go to school in either time zone. Maybe we should move the start of the school day back to about 10 a.m.? Face it, there are not enough hours in the day to have daylight both before and after school in the dead of winter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Central Time Coalition because I haven't found any adults or children that are making up for the lost sleep due to the late summer sunsets. In addition, many are depressed to wake up at 6:30 or 7:00 and there STILL isn't any light.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Central Time Coalition mainly because of the fact that we had operated much of our year in that time zone before our Govenor's 'infinite' wisdom to change it. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Kids that cannot be seen safely while going to and from school, no matter what time of year it is, is a hazard waiting to happen, period!

Andy Ray said...

During the shortest day of the year, there are over nine hours of sunlight in Indiana. It is certainly not impossible to fit a 7.5-hour school day into these nine hours. Central Time is the only solution, since artificially changing school start times screws up the schedules of working adults. The latest sunrise during Central Time is between 7:00 and 7:15 -- earlier than the start time of any school. The earliest sunset during Central Time is between 4:15 and 4:30 -- later than the dismissal time of any school. Any questions?