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Sen. Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake, speaks in support of a bill in 2017 that would put North Dakota on Central time and eliminate daylight saving time. 

Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service

Daylight saving time begins 2 a.m. Sunday, and when it comes to North Dakotans’ opinions on the practice of advancing clocks one hour to achieve longer evening daylight, it’s a mixed bag.

Edward Miller, of Steele, is not a fan of springing forward. The Kidder County school bus driver said he would like to see daylight saving time eliminated.

“Now, starting Monday morning, we’re having to go out in the dark again. On mornings where there are icy roads and fog, it makes quite a difference,” he said.

According to researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder, who studied a decade’s worth of data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System, the spring transition into daylight saving time is associated with a 6.3 percent increase in fatal crashes, persisting for six days following the time change. Experts say sleep deprivation is to blame.

The study suggests the spring time change was responsible for 302 deaths from 2002 through 2011, the 10-year sample period. 

Patty Owens, of Bismarck, says she “loves” daylight saving time.

“I wish we could switch to daylight saving time and stay on it all year long instead of going back an hour in the fall,” she said. “We’ve had friends from other states visit us and they can’t believe how long it stays light in Bismarck.”

A quality review specialist for a local bank, Owens says she enjoys the long summer nights and being able to go for a walk in the daylight after work, supper and household chores.

“My husband and I are outside all night long in the summer, and I love not coming in until after 10,” she said. “I know families with young children don’t always like it, though, because it’s harder to get their children to fall asleep when it’s still light out. I guess it depends what type of person you are or what stage of life you’re in.”

A mom of five young children, Pamela Vetter, of Wilton, says she doesn’t like the time-honored tradition.

“It’s harder to get the kids to sleep, harder to get them up in the morning and it puts our whole routine off,” she said, noting the time change even affects her children’s naptime. “It’s hard on our bodies to adjust to a different routine and a different sleep schedule.”

Vetter, a stay-at-home mom who works part-time as a registered nurse at a local assisted living facility, says she feels daylight saving time was once an effective way to provide additional hours of daylight for farmers and ranchers, but feels its effectiveness has worn off in recent years.

“Times are different than they used to be. People go 24/7 nowadays, so I feel the time change doesn’t make much of a difference,” she said.

A bill to end daylight saving time permanently in the state failed to gain traction during North Dakota's 2017 legislative session.

Sen. Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake, sponsored Senate Bill 2167, which would have = required the entire state to be on Central Standard Time, as well as remain on standard time year-round.

The bill attracted little testimony during a hearing in January 207 and failed in the Senate with 33 legislators opposed to it and 11 who supported it.

Daylight saving time ends Nov. 4.

(Reach Cheryl McCormack at 701-250-8264 or​


General Assignment Reporter