Daylight Saving Time Explained

One of the signs that winter is approaching is setting back the clock one hour. You gain an hour of sleep but you also lose an hour of daylight. When spring comes you get that hour back but you lose that hour of sleep. How did all this come to past? Who came up with the idea of daylight saving time and how beneficial is it?

Daylight Saving Time was conceived by Thomas Willet in 1907. A golf enthusiast and sportsman Willet wished that there were more time in the summer to pursue his outdoor activities. He pushed for these changes in his native England but with no success.

During WWI Germany adopted the changing of time to save electricity. Other European nations followed suit and eventually the United States adopted DST in 1918. At the time the railroads had set their own time standard to keep the trains running on time. The United States used the railroad time standard. The law was only observed for 7 months due to the opposition by the public of the time change.

In 1942 the time was set ahead one hour. This was put in place to save energy during WWII and lasted till 1945.

After 1945 whether to set in place Daylight Saving Time was up to the local and state governments. They were free to decide when the time could change. This created havoc for anyone traveling or doing business in other regions of the country. It was also difficult for radio stations that would broadcast over large areas.

This lasted till 1966 when the uniform time act of 1966 was declared. The act didn’t force any states to follow the law but it did compel those who did to follow the same standard.

On the last day of April the time would be set one hour forward and on the last Sunday in October the clocks would be set back.

Since then the traditional days that the time has been reset have been altered on occasion. During the oil embargo of 1973 daylight savings was extended 2 years to save energy. And recently the times have changed to the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

From the beginning the reasoning behind Daylight Saving Time has been energy conservation. It is estimated that 25 percent of the electricity that we use is on lighting and appliances. And most of that is used after dark when families are typically at home. So it goes to reason that with more daylight more people will be outside instead of inside their homes using electricity. Not everyone agrees with these findings. In Indiana where DST wasn’t observed for years there were studies that have shown that the saving in energy has been minimal at best.

Another advantage of Daylight Saving Time is the prevention of accidents on the road. More accidents occur after dark due to lack of visibility. Therefore with more daylight there should be fewer accidents.

At the present time the only states that don’t observe DST are Hawaii and Arizona along with U.S. territories Puerto Rico, and Guam.