Time to change your clocks again

Published 5:52 pm Friday, March 7, 2008

Daylight Saving Time starts this Sunday at 2 a.m. and it is time once again to set clocks forward by one hour before going to bed Saturday night.

This is the second year of the modified Daylight Saving Time, which came as a part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush on Aug. 8, 2005. Prior to the signing of the new act, Daylight Saving Time began in April and went through October. The act added four weeks to Daylight Saving Time, starting it three weeks earlier and ending it a week later, according to http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/studentnews/03/06/one.sheet.daylight.saving/. In addition, the entire state of Indiana now observes Daylight Saving Time, whereas before, only portions of the state observed the time change.

The origins of Daylight Saving Time began in 1784, with Benjamin Franklin in his essay, “An Economical Project.” According to http://webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/c.html, William Willett continued the idea by proposing an advancing of clocks by 20 minutes each of the four Sundays in April, and reducing them the same number of minutes each of the four Sundays in September. In his 1908 pamphlet, “Waste of Daylight,” Willett wrote, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches; and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used.”

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Discussions about Daylight Saving Time continued until 1918, when the United States Congress first adopted daylight-saving time, according to the CNN website. The move was not popular, and was repealed the following year. However, in 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted “war time” to save energy during World War II. “War time” was a year-round time change, and after the war, many states continued the time change during the summers, according to the CNN site.

The national standard for summer changes was set in 1966 by Congress, although a year-round time change was attempted in 1974 and 1975. Complaints of children having to go to school on dark winter mornings resulted in the country reverting to a summer time change only, according to the CNN site. The previous time change standard was set in 1986, starting on the first Sunday in April and ending the last Sunday in October.

Daylight Saving Time is not observed by the entire nation, however. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe the time change, nor do the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Mariana Islands and American Samoa, according to http://webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b.html.

In the U.S., it was decided to change time at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning for a number of reasons.

According to http://webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b.html, “Most people were at home and this was the time when the fewest trains were running. It is late enough to minimally affect bars and restaurants, and it prevents the day from switching to yesterday, which would be confusing. It is early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, and the changeover occurs before most early shift workers and early churchgoers are affected.”