Spring Foward into Daylight Saving Time ~ 2AM Sunday March 10, 2013

Reminders are all around us! It’s that time… to “spring forward.” The annual leap to Daylight Saving Time happens officially at 2am tomorrow – Sunday March 10, 2013. What does it mean? Who instigated this whole time change thing? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Do we all do it?

Daylight saving time (DST) is a change in the standard time with the purpose of getting better use of the daylight by having the sun rise one hour later in the morning and set one hour later in the evening.  Although it has only been used in the past hundred years, the idea of DST was first conceived many years before. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin – author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor  and thinker – albeit tongue-in-cheek thought it was a good idea back in 1784! It was used in Germany, Great Britian and then in the United States around the time of World War I to save fuel for the war effort and then revived again during World War II with some twists by FDR again to save energy.

It caused much confusion until it was standardized in the Uniform Time Act of 1966 –  that stated DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. But states could opt out! More confusion. The energy crisis in the early 1970s caused the US Congress to extend DST to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. Many complained that having children going to school in a darkened morning was dangerous! Farmers didn’t like it. Some said it disrupted sleep patterns in an unhealthy way. Airlines complained – even Othodox Jews who pray before sunrise and runners who like to get going early complained.

In 1986 Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey – now a candidate for the US Senate – and then a high ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce brokered a deal for a DST start time of early April. In  2005, Markey got involved again by adding  a monthlong extension into a massive energy bill that would take effect in 2007. In addition to moving the start of daylight saving time to the second Sunday in March, the law pushes the end back a week, to the first Sunday in November allowing in Markey’s view for  a safer circumstance for children to trick or treat, since it will be lighter on Halloween. So here we are in 2013 about to spring forward in Daylight Saving Time across the United States – but not in Hawaii or most of Arizona.

What do you think?

Read more here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/08/daylight-saving-time-affects-us/1974453/ and here:  http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html and here: http://answers.usa.gov/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1000&PARTITION_ID=1&CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE&ARTICLE_ID=10323