Photo: Boston's famous Customs House Tower clock would have to be adjusted under a new proposal. Credit: Thinkstock Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker recently signed legislation authorizing a study of whether the state should move into a different time zone, so that it could have more daylight hours during the months when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun.
Bloomberg reports that the idea was proposed by Quincy, Mass. resident Tom Emswiler.
RELATED: The Nation's Time Keeper
Emswiler has proposed that Massachusetts could switch from Eastern to Atlantic Standard Time, which covers eastern Canada, the Caribbean and parts of South America. He also would have the state stop the practice of turning the clock ahead in spring and summer and back during fall and winter to conform with Daylight Savings Time.
In a 2014 Boston Globe essay, Emswiler wrote: "The idea of defecting from our time zone might seem strange. Yet the emerging science and the geographic reality of life in New England make it an idea worth serious consideration."
In recent years, he pointed out, researchers have found that the switch to Daylight Savings Time is connected to small but significant increases in heart attacks, workplace injuries and driver and pedestrian fatalities apparently caused by sleep loss. But when the clock "falls back" in the autumn, there's no compensatory benefit, Emswiller noted in his article.
RELATED: Dangers of Daylight Savings Time
But more importantly, Emswiller worries that Massachusetts is losing college grads to places with longer exposure to sunlight.
"On the shortest evening of the year, the sun sets here at 4:11," Emswiller wrote. "When (students) graduate, they might find themselves with options in New York, where the shortest day extends to 4:28, or Palo Alto, where it's 4:50! Shifting one time zone would give us a 5:11 sunset -- a small but meaningful competitive change."
Any change would require the approval of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which by federal law regulates time zones.
WATCH VIDEO: How To Slow Down Time