Why the US kept Daylight Saving Time

Why do we 'spring forward' and 'fall back' with our clocks each year? Daylight Saving Time was a way to save fuel and make the most of sunlight during World War I, but it has stuck around.

Why the US kept Daylight Saving Time

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The clocks are about to "fall back" one hour.

The end of Daylight Savings Time will be marked by the clocks being reset an hour to standard time on the first Sunday in November at 2 a.m. The clocks of many countries and most states in the United States'spring' forward one hour on the second Sunday of march at 2 am. This will last for almost eight months.

The US began using the current system of March to November in 2007. However, the idea of "saving daylight" is much older. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the US Department of Transportation, Daylight Saving Time originated in train schedules. However, it was implemented in Europe and America during World War I to conserve fuel and electricity.

The correct term is Daylight Saving Time. It should be spelled with the singular'saving' and not spelled'savings'.

The US kept Daylight Saving Timepermanent for most of World War II. The idea was implemented to conserve fuel and keep things uniform. Gallup asked its respondents in 1945 how they should tell the time. Only 17% of respondents wanted what was called "war time" to last the entire year.

In the winter of 1973-1974, during the energy crisis in the 1970s we again tried Daylight Saving Time. Again, the idea was to conserve fuel. The law was signed by President Richard Nixon in January 1974. It was popular at the time. By the end of January, Florida's governor had called for repealing the law after eight children were struck by cars at night. The start of school was delayed across the nation until the sun rose.

In early autumn, Congress voted to return to standard time.

States in the US are not legally required to "fall back" or "spring forward." Hawaii, Arizona's majority and certain territories in the Pacific or Caribbean do not observe Daylight Saving Time. This twice-yearly switcheroo has so irritated lawmakers from all political parties that in March 2022, the US Senate passed legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. The bill was not voted on by the House in 2022.

This year, the Sunshine Protection Act of2023 was reintroduced to the Senate along with a companion bill in theHouse. However, passage is not expected any time soon.

The one-hour shift disrupts the body's rhythms that are tuned to Earth’s rotation. This has fueled the debate about whether Daylight Saving Time is a good thing.

There is always a counterargument to every argument. Studies show, for instance, that we have more car accidents when people lose an hour of sleep. Studies have shown that robberies decrease when there is more sunlight at night. Also, we know that more people have heart attacks at the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. What about mental health? People seem happier when there is an additional hour of daylight.

There's also the economy that pays for all the outdoor fun. Daylight Saving Time was often cited as a way to save energy, but the amount of energy saved is not much.

The majority of lobbying efforts for Daylight Saving Time were from other sectors. In the middle of the 20th century, groups representing the recreation sports industry (think about driving ranges), wanted to encourage more people to visit their facilities after a long day at work. When there's more light after work, it makes it easier.

The movie industry did not like Daylight Saving Time. It's less likely that you'll go to the movies when it's sunny outside. Farmers also didn't enjoy it, despite the myth. It was difficult for them to get their produce to the market early in the morning.

Bottom line: it's unclear whether an extra hour of daylight at the end of the morning versus the start of the day is beneficial. What you want and who you are will determine what you do.

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This report was written by Ali Zaslav, Sandee laMotte, Harry Enten and Saffeya Ahmed.