Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is a method of progressing our clocks ahead by one hour in order to make better use of the extended daylight hours of summer, hence the usage of the term “Summer Time” to describe the shift. On the second Sunday of every March clocks are moved ahead by one hour at 2:00 a.m., marking the shift from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time. The late hour of the time shift was chosen because most people are at home and in bed at that time, and there are less trains running whose schedules would be dramatically effected. The shift, in essence, takes one hour out of our day, and the dark hours of morning are extended following the change. Daylight Saving Time lasts until November when clocks are set back one hour; because of the correspondence of the change with seasonal occurrences, the phrase “Spring forward, Fall back” has been applied to represent the methodology behind the change.

The idea of Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in 1907 and was in use by many nations as early as 1916. The time shift was approved due to the effect it has on energy conservation, and during the first world war the conservation of coal was crucial to the war effort. The reduction in energy consumption stems from the fact that after the change it gets darker closer to the time when people go to bed. Since there is more natural light during the normal work and recreational hours, the use of fuel to power lighting and appliances is reduced. The time shift has the additional effect of motivating people to enjoy more outdoor activities and spend more time outside of their homes.

Although there are many benefits to Daylight Saving Time, it is not observed everywhere. The time shift is not even observed within the United States as whole, whose non-observant areas include Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Arizona. In this respect these regions are uniformed in their noncompliance to the change, with the exception of Arizona, where the Navajo Nation does in fact “Spring forward, Fall back”. This inconsistency across Arizona has resulted in a “donut” shaped time zone, where the Navajo Nation changes though the areas around it do not. Variations of the observance have resulted in conflict over the years and a uniform standard for the time shift had to be established. This was made abundantly clear after the confusion experienced during the fifties and sixties when time was changed at the discretion of local governmental bodies.

Daylight Saving Time occasionally recieves an adjustment, this was true in 2006 when DST was lengthened within the United States. This was due to a belief that shifting back to standard time after the November elections would result in higher voter turnout. The idea is attributed to the fact that many voters would travel to the polls if there were more daylight hours, perhaps due to convenience, or because it is safer. In fact, it has been discovered that there is a reduction in crime rates after the Spring time shift, this may be because there are fewer hours of darkness which can conceal violations of the law. The effects of the alteration can be measured in 2010, 2021, 2027, and 2032 when the duration of DST is again reduced. Another change was made as recently as 2007, when the shift forward was changed to the second Sunday of March.

For the most part however, Daylight Saving Time is a consistent factor in many of our lives. It is so consistent in fact, that many home maintenance duties are marked by the time shift, such as replacing batteries in smoke detectors. In many ways it is an unofficial indication of the arrival of the Spring season, and with additional hours for recreation having become available it marks the kickoff of many sporting events and athletic seasons.