By Hollen Wheeler
Daylight Saving Time (DST) will commence on Sunday, March 13, which will bring brighter mornings and evenings for the next eight months. The time change officially takes place at 2:00 a.m. local time respectively across the country’s different time zones.
Hate it? Love it? Don’t care? Miss the extra hour of sleep?
DST has a remarkable but controversial history.
Ancient Romans and Greeks are said to have been the first to recognize daylight hours by the invention of water clocks to observe the sunup to sundown time frame. In more modern times, Benjamin Franklin suggested a time change, writing that it would save candle wax, although many thought he was being satirical. Britain created Standard Time (also known as London Time) in 1840 so that railways would have the same arrival and departure times throughout the region. In 1883, North American railroad companies created a four-zone system of operations to consolidate the hundreds of local time zones across the U.S. and Canada. Thus, the Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern time zones were born.
Fast forward to the early 20th century. Germany adopted daylight saving time to save fuel during World War I, and the U.S. followed suit in 1918. However, it was abolished after the war was over because it was unpopular, especially with farmers. Franklin D. Roosevelt reinstated it during World War II, calling it “war time,” and then DST was revoked again in 1945.
In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which gave the Department of Transportation the oversight of DST and mandated that the time change begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in November.
In recent years, several congressmen have filed bills to make DST a permanent fixture in their respective states but under federal law, Congress has to approve. To date, no state has been granted the change.
Today, DST begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, some say to allow for trick or treaters to have more time outside in daylight hours. Only two states, Hawaii and Arizona (and all the U.S. territories), do not observe daylight saving time.
Those in favor of DST believe that it saves energy, prevents traffic injuries and reduces crime. Retail establishments are fans because people tend to shop and buy more in daylight. On the con side, with an extra hour of daylight, more air conditioning is used as well as gas for daylight errands. Farmers have been by and large against it from the start since the sun, not a clock, determines their harvesting, milking, and work schedules.
So, as we welcome longer days of sunlight, remember to spring forward on