The tragedy in Rochester is unimaginable – three siblings dead and another seriously injured.  These aren’t the only victims – their families, the bus driver and student witnesses, their schoolmates and teachers.  The ripple effects touch everyone.  
While all fingers point to the truck’s driver, a major culprit goes unrecognized – Indiana’s morning darkness.  Sunrise on Oct. 30 was 8:15.  The children were struck at 7:15.  If Indiana was in its correct Central Time Zone it would have been light outside and the children would have been visible. 
The solar divide between the Eastern and Central time zones runs 25 miles east of Columbus, Ohio.  In mid-1960’s Indiana’s time zone was re-designated from Central to Eastern but it was the adoption of Eastern Daylight Time in 2006 that caused the major shift in our sunlight schedule forcing children all over Indiana to travel to school in the dark. Students have been robbed, injured and killed by vehicles, and raped in morning darkness.
Unfortunately, members of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce are being told that Eastern benefits Indiana’s commerce.  It doesn’t!  Today’s financial transactions are conducted by computers, not dependent on telephones.  Yet, the Chamber is a major financial supporter of campaign funds.  It’s too bad that Indiana’s corporations aren’t being told the truth.  That Hoosiers employees are among the most tired in the US resulting in reduced productivity and increased accident rates.  That Hoosiers are among the most obese and unhealthy in the US.  That the 3-hour time difference with the west coast causes major inconveniences for direct communications, jet lag for business travel, and requires extension of the workday in order to conduct business.  
But what is really inexcusable is what is happing to Indiana’s students – their health, safety, and education.  Teens can’t learn in morning darkness and their schools shouldn’t start before 8:30, but most Indiana teens and their teachers are getting up at least two hours before sunrise.  Not only is this detrimental to their education, it causes emotional stress.  Indiana’s teens have the 2nd highest suicide attempt rate in the US and the 55,000 that are chronic absentees each year usually drop out.  
52 public school boards and over 28,000 Hoosiers have signed petitions asking our General Assembly to approve restoring Indiana to its correct Central Time Zone.  Indiana legislators – its time to quit playing politics and live up to your oath to provide “peace, safety and well-being” for all Hoosiers.
-Susannah Dillon, Carmel
President of the Central Time Coalition