The end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) is upon us as we officially revert back to standard time this weekend. If you are keeping track, DST means we are 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In Standard Time, we are 5 hours behind GMT. This Sunday the 7th at 2 AM we turn our clocks back one hour, effectively repeating the 1 AM hour. Personally, this is my favorite clock change of the year for a couple of reasons. First, it gives us an extra hour of sleep! Second, it signals that we are starting to head towards my favorite time of the year: winter! But, I digress.
While various forms of time change have been implemented through the years, these proved confusing as they were highly localized. For example, during the 1950s and 1960s, such non-uniform daylight saving time measures were being taken that some pretty bizarre scenarios were being created. For example, during some parts of the year, a simple 35 mile bus trip from Ohio to West Virginia would force passengers to change their clocks seven times! This was clearly proving ridiculous, so something had to be done. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Uniform Time Act (click here to see the written law). This created Daylight Saving Time, mandating that it began on the last Sunday of April and ended on the last Sunday of October. If any state wished to exempt itself, they could by passing a state law.
The law was amended in 1986 to change the start of DST to the first Sunday of April. The end date remained the same. Finally, and most folks remember this recent change, in 2005 the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST, effective in 2007. This mandated that DST began at 2:00 AM on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday of November. Also, Congress retained the right to change back to the 1986 law if energy savings were no observed or if the law proved exceedingly unpopular with the people.
I TMd like to touch a bit further upon the energy-savings argument. This is a-no pun intended-hotly contested item. Initially, the argument was made that shifting daylight closer to the hours that humans are typically awake would reduce energy consumption. Many argue these savings are offset by those living in warmer climates who have to cool their homes during the summer afternoons and evenings. Also, the argument has been made that more evening hours of light will mean people are more likely to run errands and visit friends, thus using more gasoline. Lastly, and of recent importance, Trick-or-Treaters were considered when the 2007 law was enacted. It was hoped that by extending DST past Halloween, it would give Trick-or-Treaters an hour extra of daylight, hopefully reducing traffic accidents involving children (which are four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year).
Do you begrudge the changing of the clocks twice a year? Do you welcome the extra hour of sleep? Are you a fan of the extra hour of daylight in the evening DST brings? Comment below and let us know!
For a live look at the current times around North America, check out this website.