Daylight Saving Time gives us the opportunity to get a little more out of sunny summer evenings.  Yet, the implementation of Daylight Saving Time has been pretty controversial ever since Benjamin Franklin conceived of the idea. Even today, there are regions and countries continually changing their approaches to Daylight Saving Time.

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.

Clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time commences at 2:00 a.m. to minimize disruption. However, many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. But 2:00 a.m. in the fall presents a little trouble or opportunity depending who you ask.  The time switches back one hour. So, some bars serve alcohol for that additional hour. Though some states battle this, claiming that bars actually stop serving liquor at 1:59 a.m., so they have already stopped serving when the time reverts to Standard Time anyway. Other states solve the problem by saying that liquor can be served until "two hours after midnight." In practice, however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the fall.

2:00 a.m. was originally chosen as the changeover time for practical reasons.  Most people were at home and this was the time, few 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, and it’s early enough that the entire continental U.S. switches by daybreak, changing over before most early shift workers are affected.

In the U.S., clocks change at 2:00 a.m. local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. 

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to simply 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. 

INTERESTING DAYLIGHT SAVINGS CONTROVERSIES

Draft Status, Vietnam War

A man, born just after 12:00 a.m. DST, avoided the Vietnam War draft by using a daylight saving time loophole. When he was drafted, he argued that standard time, not DST, was the official time for recording births in his state of Delaware in the year of his birth. Thus, under official standard time he was actually born on the previous day--and that day had a much higher draft lottery number, which allowed him to avoid the war.

Daylight Saving Time Saved Lives

In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded--one hour too early--killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims--two busloads of people.

Halloween Treats

Through 2006, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. ended a few days before Halloween. Children’s pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year. A new law to extend DST to the first Sunday in November took effect in 2007, with the purpose of providing trick-or-treaters more light and therefore more safety from traffic accidents. This was good news for candy manufacturers, who lobbied for a Daylight Saving Time extension Halloween for decades, as many of the young trick-or-treaters gathering candy are not allowed out after dark, and thus an added hour of light means a big holiday treat for the candy industry. 

Daylight Saving Time Chaos 

Widespread confusion was created during the 1950s and 1960s when each U.S. locality could start and end Daylight Saving Time as it desired. One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone. For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore--but Chicago was. And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles! The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially those involving transportation and communications. Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today's equivalent of over $12 million per year.

Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul once didn't have twin perspectives with regard to the clock. These two large cities are adjacent at some points and separated only by the Mississippi River at others, and are considered a single metropolitan area. In 1965, St. Paul decided to begin its Daylight Saving Time period early to conform to most of the nation, Minneapolis felt it should follow Minnesota's state law, which stipulated a later start date. After intense inter-city negotiations and quarreling, the cities still couldn’t agree, so the one-hour time difference remained, bringing great time turmoil to the cities and surrounding areas.

Daylight Saving Riots

Patrons of bars that stay open past 2:00 a.m. lose one hour of drinking time on the day when Daylight Saving Time springs forward one hour. This has led to problems in numerous locations, and sometimes even to riots. For example, at a "time disturbance" in Athens, Ohio, site of Ohio University, over 1,000 students and other late night partiers chanted "Freedom," as they threw liquor bottles at the police attempting to control the riot.

Amtrak

To keep to their published timetables, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So, when the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming. Overnight passengers are often surprised to find their train at a dead stop and their travel time an hour longer than expected. At the spring Daylight Saving Time change, trains instantaneously become an hour behind schedule at 2:00 a.m., but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.

Operas

Among the first institutions affected by Daylight Saving Time was the Berlin Opera, on April 30, 1916--the evening when the clocks in Germany were to be set forward for the first time. At 11:00 p.m., all German clocks were to be set to midnight. The Berlin Opera, with wonderful forethought, changed its schedule and began its performance of Die Meistersinger an hour earlier than usual. This allowed grateful audience members to be able to catch their customary trains home at the end of the performance. (All trains scheduled to depart between 11:00 p.m. and midnight were immediately behind schedule when 11:00 p.m. changed to midnight, and so left as soon as possible. And trains scheduled to depart after midnight left the equivalent of one hour early.

Violent Crime

A study by the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found that crime was consistently less during periods of Daylight Saving Time than during comparable standard time periods. Data showed violent crime down 10 to 13 percent. It is clear that for most crimes where darkness is a factor, such as muggings, there are many more incidents after dusk than before dawn, so light in the evening is most welcome.

Antarctica

In Antarctica, there is no daylight in the winter and months of 24-hour daylight in the summer. But many of the research stations there still observe Daylight Saving Time anyway, to synchronize with their supply stations in Chile or New Zealand.

Manslaughter

In California, a Chevrolet Blazer packed with teenagers struck the median of a street and flipped over, tragically killing one teen and injuring several others. The teen driver, fighting charges of felony vehicular manslaughter, claimed that the street was dangerously wet and unsafe due a lawn sprinkler system. The landscaper responsible for the computerized sprinklers testified that the sprinklers were set to come on more than fifteen minutes after the fatal accident. The outcome hinged on whether the sprinklers' timer had been adjusted for a recent Daylight Saving Time change, for without the DST adjustment, the sprinklers had around 45 minutes to make the road slick.

Indiana

Indiana has long been a hotbed of Daylight Saving Time controversy. Historically, the state's two western corners, which fall in the Central Time Zone, observed DST, while the remainder of the state, in the Eastern Time zone, followed year-round Standard Time. An additional complication was that five southeastern counties near Cincinnati and Louisville unofficially observed DST to keep in sync with those cities. Because of the longstanding feuds over DST, Indiana politicians often treated the subject gingerly. In 1996, gubernatorial candidate Rex Early firmly declared, "Some of my friends are for putting all of Indiana on Daylight Saving Time. Some are against it. And I always try to support my friends."

In April 2005, Indiana legislators passed a law that implemented Daylight Saving Time statewide. 

Oil Conservation

Following the 1973 oil embargo, the U.S. Congress extended Daylight Saving Time to 8 months, rather than the normal six months. During that time, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that observing Daylight Saving Time in March and April saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day - a total of 600,000 barrels in each of those two years.

In 1986, Daylight Saving Time moved 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. Adding the entire month of April to Daylight Saving Time is estimated to save the U.S. about 300,000 barrels of oil each year.

Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time commenced on the second Sunday in March and ended on the first Sunday in November, thereby saving even more oil.

Births and Birthdays

Twins born at 11:55 p.m. and 12:05 a.m. may have different birthdays, and more impressive, 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.

In November 2007, Laura Cirioli of North Carolina gave birth to Peter at 1:32 a.m. and, 34 minutes later, to Allison. However, because Daylight Saving Time reverted to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m., Allison was born at 1:06 a.m.

Amish Observance

Amish communities in the United States and Canada are divided about whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. Although the Amish are generally known for leading simple lives without modern conveniences, practices vary from community to community. Likewise, some Amish communities observe DST, while others do not. In one county in Ohio, approximately 10 of the 90 Amish church districts opt out of DST (known as “fast time” or “English time,” preferring to observe what they term “slow time.”

Stealing Time

As with the U.S., Great Britain has had a colorful past with Daylight Saving Time (or Summer Time, as it is known there). In the early part of the 20th century, citizens protested at the change, using the slogan, “Give us back our stolen hour.”

Arizona Is Divided

In the U.S., Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, but the Navajo Nation (parts of which are in three states) does. However, the Hopi Reservation, which is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, doesn’t observe DST. In effect, there is a donut-shaped area of Arizona that does observe DST, but the “hole” in the center does not.

Thanks to IDEA for sharing some interesting Daylight Saving Facts.