Tonight at 2:00 am local time, in every state except Hawaii and Arizona, clocks will "spring ahead" one hour, ending standard time and entering daylight saving time.
What is Daylight Saving Time and how did it begin?
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the summer months, in order to make better use of natural daylight.
This shift in time was enacted by the federal government in 1918, under President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, to conserve coal during World War I. It was made into law in 1966 under the Uniform Time Act and has since increased from a six-month span to the eight months that it is now.
While the intention may be good, there are many people who believe that DST is no longer necessary or beneficial.
What are some of the arguments for abolishing Daylight Saving Time?
Arguments for abolishing Daylight Savings Time typically focus on the following points:
2. The energy savings that DST was supposed to produce are no longer significant.
3. There is a rise in the number of fatal accidents in the days that follow the switch to DST.
What are some of the arguments in favor of keeping Daylight Saving Time?
Those in favor of keeping Daylight Saving Time typically argue that the benefits outweigh the negatives. They point to the following reasons:
1. DST helps us make better use of natural daylight, saving energy in the process.
3. Many people believe that DST can have positive effects on our moods and sense of well-being.
What about the states where the clocks never change?
In Hawaii and most of Arizona, the clocks never change.
In Arizona, it's for a very simple reason ... summers are hot! Most people want to go outside when they get off work, so they want the sun to set earlier so it cools down.
Hawaii doesn't have reason to change the clocks; since they are nearer to the equator, the amount of sunlight in the summer vs winter doesn't differ very much, so there is no use changing it.
What do you think?
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, and there is no clear consensus on what the best course of action is; and, depending upon the way you look at it, it can be a glass-half-full vs. half-empty debate (i.e. gain an hour of sunlight vs. lose an hour of sleep).
And, as you can see, all of the arguments for or against often have a counterargument.
Most Americans actually don't want to change the clocks, but they can't seem to agree on a solution either. Several polls conducted in 2021 on the topic found that Americans are split three ways. 31% said we should keep changing the clocks as we have been doing; 36% said they wanted DST all year; and 30% said they wanted standard time all year.
Actually though, while states can opt-out of DST, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 only allows states to switch in one direction: standard time. This was an effort to keep some consistency and avoid confusion.
Just to clear up any additional confusion, nothing actually adds any extra sunlight to our days. It really just comes down to whether you will have an extra hour of sunlight at the beginning of the day ... or at the end.
What do you think? Is it time to stop using Daylight Savings Time, or is it still worth keeping?