Daylight Saving Time

SAVING TIME?

Daylight Saving Time gives us the opportunity to enjoy sunny summer evenings by moving our clocks an hour ahead forward in the Spring.

“Just as sunflowers turn their heads to catch every sunbeam, so too have we discovered a simple way to get more from our Sun.” www.webexhibits.org

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. Saving is used as a verbal adjective. It modifies time, and tells us more about its nature, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. It would be more accurate to refer to Daylight Savings Time to Daylight Saving Time. Examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ballgame rather than a savings account. People feel the word “savings” (with an S) flows more easily off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage and can be found in dictionaries.

During World War I, the federal government instituted the Daylight Saving Time in the United States. They instituted this in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of later hours of daylight between April and October.

Between World War I and World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. During World War II the federal government required states to observe the time change. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.

Every Spring we move our clocks one hour and “lose” an hour during the night and each Fall we set our clocks back one hour and “gain” an extra hour. The phrase “Spring Forward, Fall Back” helps people remember how Daylight Saving Time affects their clocks.

Some states do not observe Daylight Saving Time. Hawaii and Arizona are these states that do not observe the Daylight Saving Time. For many years Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time with the exception of 10 counties. In 2006, all of Indiana now observe Daylight Saving Time. The state of Indiana remains divided into two time zones.

In 1986 the United States federal law was amended. Daylight Saving Time begins @ 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in April and ended @ 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. In 2005, President Bush signed a new energy policy that would extend Daylight Saving Time by 4 weeks beginning in 2007.

The new law beginning in 2007:

Daylight Saving Time begins @ 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March

Daylight Saving Time ends @ 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November

Time zones in Canada also switch to Daylight Saving time on the same dates. Some regions in British Columbia and Saskatchewan do not use Daylight Saving Time. In Europe, Daylight Saving Time is also known as “summertime”.

When on standard time, time zones in the United States become: Alaska Daylight Saving Time, Pacific Daylight Saving Time (PDT), Mountain Daylight Saving (MDT), Central Daylight Saving Time (CDT), and Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT).

If you live near the equator, day and night is nearly the same length, (12 hours). Elsewhere on Earth there is more daylight in the summer than in the winter. The closer you live to the North or South Pole, the longer period of daylight in the summer. Daylight Saving Time (Summertime) is usually not helpful in the tropics and countries near the equator generally do not change their clocks.

What are the advantages of Daylight Saving Time? Probably the most important advantage is that it saves energy. When you go on Daylight Saving Time we move our clocks forward one hour. In effect, Daylight Saving Time moves one hour of daylight from the morning to evening. When we come home from work or school, there is an “extra” hour of daylight to engage in outdoor activities and not turn on the inside lights, television, etc.

Daylight Saving Time has some disadvantages too. According to some Mine Safety and Health Administration data researchers at Michigan State University, they found that an average of 3.6 more injuries occurred on the Monday following the Sunday switch to Daylight Saving Time than occurred on normal Mondays. According to the investigators the number of injuries on that Monday following the Daylight Saving Time was an increase of 5.7% over a typical Monday. Researches found no appreciable effect on injuries or their severity when an

hour of daylight was gained by setting back clocks in the fall to conform to the Standard Time. These findings w ere drawn from injury data mine operators required to submit to MSHA and covered a 24-year period from 1983-2006.

In a second study using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics interview-based American Time Use Survey, found that people tend to get 40 minutes less sleep after their clocks were moved forward. Since they found many more injuries after a shortened night of sleep, they characterized the effect as pretty significant.

This research is inline with that found by other researchers who looked for other effects linked to the annual swing of Daylight Saving Time. Another study found that the incidence of heart attacks increased significantly for the first three workdays after the transition. An Australian study found an increase in male suicide rates after the time change.

Another disadvantage of Daylight Saving Time is that people travel home from school or work in daylight hours and because you see better in the daylight, there are more traffic accidents after dark. Because there are more daylight hours in the evening, Daylight Saving Time is also said to reduce crime, which usually occurs after dark.

Daylight Saving Time was proposed by Benjamin Franklin, who thought it would be better to match the waking activity phase of the human sleep/wake cycle with the daylight phase of the Earth's 24-hour rotation cycle. Ben obviously did not take into account the law of unintended consequences.

Today, more than one billion people in 70 countries around the world observe Daylight Saving Time in some form.

References:

www.eclipse. .gstc.nasa.gov/daylight saving.html

www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/index.html

www.geography.about.com/daylight saving

Sharpe, J. (2009). DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME SWITCH INCREASES RISK FOR INJURIES. Rock Products, 112 (11), 8 Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database

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