Why Does Daylight Saving Time Exist?

It’s almost time to turn back the clocks one hour. This means we’ll gain an hour of sleep, but it will get dark earlier in the day. The 2021 Daylight Saving Time (DST) officially ends on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2 a.m. (fall back an hour to 1:00 a.m.)

Daylight saving time (not savings) starts again Sunday, March 13, 2022, when clocks ‘spring ahead ‘one hour.

What’s the history of DST?

In the United States, daylight saving time was first used in 1918 when a bill introduced the idea of a seasonal time shift. After seven months, the bill was repealed.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt established another version of DST called “War Time,” which was in effect February 1942 through September 1945.

After that, daylight saving time was adopted in various forms on local and state levels until it became a national standard in 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act. The law was established to conserve energy and regulate a yearly time change. This meant daylight saving time would begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October. The idea was longer daylight hours meant using less energy to light up homes.

Over the years, the DST timeline changed periodically. The last shift occurred in 2007. That year, daylight saving time began on the second Sunday in March, and it ended on the first Sunday in November. That’s where DST stands today in 2021.

Who’s in charge of DST?

The Department of Transportation oversees daylight saving time, which is a federal mandate.  The agency cites various positive reasons for DST:

  • Saves energy
  • Prevents traffic injuries
  • Reduces crime

In recent times, there have been discussions to keep daylight saving time throughout the year—without ever changing the clocks back an hour. To date, all states comply with the law and observe DST, except Hawaii and Arizona (these states eventually opted out of the law because of their abundance of daylight hours year-round).

That means if you don’t live in those two states, remember to set your clocks back an hour on Nov. 7!

 

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naomi bess

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