New England really wants to get ahead—by one hour. The New York Times reports on the movement that's afoot in that region for some states to transition permanently to the Atlantic Standard Time zone, ignoring the changing of the clocks that takes place at the start and end of daylight saving time. By sticking to the same time within that zone each year instead of following Eastern Standard Time rules and "falling back" an hour in November, then resetting the clocks ahead an hour in March to begin daylight saving time, Massachusetts—and possibly Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine—would remain an hour ahead of New York and other East Coast cities for the entire winter. The Boston Globe reported last summer that a task force had been set up in the Bay State to see if this change, which would keep more daylight coming in at day's end during winter, made sense.
Besides the benefit of extra daylight on the back end, supporters say the change would prevent messing with our sleep cycles, as well as remedy the accompanying rise in accidents that happen around time-change days. Plus, in terms of geography, most of New England lines up more closely with AST areas in Canada than its US East Coast neighbors. But critics say it'll be a hard sell with state legislatures, with cons including chaos for commuters crossing time zones, confusion regarding business operating hours and TV broadcasting schedules, and kids having to wait at dark bus stops in the winter. To that last point, Tom Emswiler, the author of the Massachusetts measure, says schools could adjust start times so kids could sleep later. He tells the Globe that "just about everyone" he asked near Boston has said: "Why can't we just say yes and flip the switch?'" (Beware the "microsleeps" that follow when we lose our hour of snoozing.)