Some Interesting Facts About the Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST), also referred as Summer Time in several countries is the practice of advancing clocks so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less.

Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn. It is a change in the standard time of each time zone. The main purpose, of course, is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. It is a system established to reduce electricity usage by extending daylight hours.

Check below for some interesting facts on DST ...

  • Though mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, modern DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson and it was first implemented during the First World War.
  • Starting on 30 April 1916, Germany and its World War I allies were the first to use DST (German: Sommerzeit) as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies, and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year and the United States adopted it in 1918.
  • A move to "permanent daylight saving time" (staying on summer hours all year with no time shifts) is sometimes advocated, and has in fact been implemented in some jurisdictions such as Iceland, Russia, and Belarus.
  • Many jurisdictions such as Argentina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Tokelau can be considered to use a form of de facto permanent daylight saving time because they use time zones located to the east of the time zones they are geographically located in. Thus their local times are later than the time they would theoretically occur under a "pure" system, such as the nautical time system, giving the same effect as year-round DST.
  • DST is now implemented in over seventy countries worldwide and affects over a billion people each year.
  • Daylight Saving Time "makes" the sun "set" one hour later and therefore reduces the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. This means that less electricity would be used for lighting and appliances late in the day. We may use a bit more electricity in the morning because it is darker when we rise, but that is usually offset by the energy savings in the evening.
  • In the US, contrary to popular belief, DST is not a do-it-or-die federal mandate. If states don't want to participate they can pass a law opting out. It wasn't always that way. In the mid-1960s, 100 million Americans observed daylight saving time according to their local customs and laws, a real patchwork quilt of dysfunction. DST is NOT observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona)
  • The U.S. now has observed daylight saving time consistently for nearly 50 years. Briefly in the early 1970s, during the energy crisis President Richard Nixon put the country on year-round DST but that was rescinded after too many school-bus accidents on dark mornings. There are still detractors, however, who think DST is a waste of time.
  • DST still has its controversies. In Russia in June 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev abolished DST. After doing without DST for several months, however, many Russians missed it. Vladimir Putin, Medvedev's successor, who won in a landslide victory recently, has announced that the return to a seasonal time switch was possible if public discussion confirmed a need for it.
  • Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.
  • In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.
  • Following the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, the US Congress put most of the nation on extended Daylight Saving Time for two years in hopes of saving additional energy.
  • In the US, DST was changed slightly in 1986 when President Reagan signed Public Law 99-359. It changed Daylight Saving Time from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in April. No change was made to the ending date of the last Sunday in October.
  • In the US, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005. Under the new law, DST begins three weeks earlier than previously, on the second Sunday in March. DST is extended by one week to the first Sunday in November. The new start and stop period began in March 2007.
  • Studies conducted in the US have found that DST saves lives and prevents traffic injuries. It allowed more people to travel home from work and school in daylight, which is much safer than darkness.
  • Because people get home from work and school and complete more errands and chores in daylight, Daylight Saving Time also seems to reduce people's exposure to various crimes
  • While twins born at 11:55 p.m. and 12:05 a.m. may have different birthdays, Daylight Saving Time can change birth order -- on paper, anyway. During the time change in the fall, one baby could be born at 1:55 a.m. and the sibling born ten minutes later, at 1:05 a.m. In the spring, there is a gap when no babies are born at all: from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

History of DST in the US:

  • 1784 - Benjamin Franklin is thought to have come up with the idea for daylight-saving time. In a whimsical letter to a French journal, he said that Parisians could save thousands of francs a years by waking up earlier during the summer because it would prevent them from having to buy so many candles to light the evening hours.
  • 1918 - The U.S. first adopts daylight-saving time, in the same act that created standard time zones, in an effort to save energy during World War I. It didn't prove popular, and, as a result, it was repealed the following year.
  • 1942 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted "war-time," a year-round daylight-saving time to save energy during World War II. After the year-round shift ended in 1945, many states adopted their own summer time changes.
  • 1966 - Congress established a national pattern for summer time changes with the Uniform Time Act. The act came in response from the transportation industry, which demanded consistency across time zones. The U.S. Department of Transportation now oversees time changes in the United States.
  • 1973 - An oil embargo by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries led Congress to enact a test period of year-round daylight-saving time in 1974 and 1975. The test period was controversial; it ended after complaints that the dark winter mornings endangered children traveling to school. The U.S. returned to summer daylight-saving time in 1975.
  • 1986 - The Federal law is amended to start daylight-saving time on the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight-saving time was never changed, and remained the last Sunday in October through 2006.
  • 2005 - On August 8, President Bush signs the Energy Policy Act of 2005 into law. Part of the act will extend daylight-saving time starting in 2007, from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
  • 2007 - Daylight-saving time begins on Sunday, March 11 and ends on Sunday, November 4.

Safety Reminder:

The National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend that consumers change the battery in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when we change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

A working smoke detector more than doubles a person's chances of surviving a home fire. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.

Remember to adjust your clocks & watches tomorrow. :)
Spring Ahead! Fall Back!!

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