Apr 15, 2024
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Daylight Saving Time Returns

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday March 10 and ends at 2 a.m. November 3.

DST has been around since 1918. During World War I, it was used to allow for more evening light and to save fuel for the war effort. Since then, DST has been used on and off, with different start and end dates.

Benjamin Franklin first suggested the idea in 1784. It was later revived in 1907, when William Willett proposed a similar system. The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915, followed by the British, and in 1918 the United States, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, establishing our time zones.

After much controversy, DST was repealed in 1919 but returned in 1942 to help the country through World War II. It was now called War Time and was terminated in 1945.

As the country enjoyed postwar peace, proponents of DST wanted it back mainly for the safety of schoolchildren waiting for morning buses on dark, busy roads. In 1966, it returned for good when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act into law.

During the "energy crisis" years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight saving time. In 1974, DST began on January 6 and in 1975 it began on February 23. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April.

In 1986, a law was passed that shifted the starting date of DST to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight saving time was not subject to such changes, and remained the last Sunday in October.

As an energy conservation measure, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST for an additional month beginning in 2007. The start of DST now occurs on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

Here are some interesting facts about DST:

Officially, it's "daylight saving time," not "daylight savings time." But don't feel bad if you thought there was a final "s" on "saving"; far more people Google the incorrect phrase than the correct one.

Daylight saving time has mixed effects on people's health. Transitions into and out of DST can disturb people's sleeping patterns, for example, and make them more restless at night. Night owls tend to be more bothered by the time changes than people who like mornings.

There's a spike in heart attacks during the first week of daylight saving time, according to another study published last year. The loss of an hour's sleep may make people more susceptible to an attack, some experts say. When daylight saving time ends in the fall, heart attacks briefly become less frequent than usual.

People are safer drivers during daylight hours, and researchers have found that DST reduces lethal car crashes and pedestrian strikes. In fact, a study concluded that observing DST year-round would annually prevent about 195 deaths of motor vehicle occupants and about 171 pedestrian fatalities.

Many other countries observe daylight saving time, but not all do so on the same day. That can create confusion for international travelers, business communications, and more.

Two states, Arizona and Hawaii and three U.S. territories: American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands don't observe daylight saving time. Indiana adopted DST in 2006.

Local time determines when DST begins, so America's eastern time zone makes the switch before the rest of the country. On March 13, cities like New York and Atlanta will be two hours ahead of the central time zone, instead of the usual one-hour difference, from 3 a.m. to 3:59 a.m. EDT. New York City will be four hours ahead of Los Angeles instead of the usual three from 3 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. EDT.

The effect of DST on energy use has changed over time and varies from place to place. Experts even disagree on whether DST still saves the nation energy. But so many people like to "spring forward" that it might be hard for officials to end the tradition, even if they determined it's wasteful.