Saturday, February 10, 2007

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Daylight Saving Time

Earlier this week my boss informed me that the beginning of Daylight Saving Time was changing this year. After further investigation here is what I have found:

  • Daylight Savings Time was originally standardized in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act. The purpose of this federal law was to standardize when and where states within the US started and ended DST. Originally written, the law started DST at 2:00am on the last Sunday of April and ended DST at 2:00am on the last Sunday of October. It was amended in 1986 (effective 1987) and the start date was moved to the first Sunday in April.

  • In 2005 Congress passed and the president signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Amongst many other provisions the Act extends Daylight Savings Time by one month, effective 2007. DST will now start on the second Sunday of March (set your clocks forward one hour) and will end on the first Sunday of November (set your clocks back one hour).

  • By extending daylight savings time it is proposed that we will shave 1% off of the United States' energy bill - or 3 billion kilowatt hours. Daylight Savings Time has also been correlated with a decrease in crime rates, the number of traffic accidents and an increased participation in outdoor activities. We'll find out if this is true when the Department of Energy conducts their required study on the impact of this change no more than 9 months after it takes effect.

  • Interestingly enough individual states have the right to pass a law that states they will not take part in DST, such as Arizona.
Due to this change we can't rely on our electronics to automatically update themselves this year. I am assuming there will be a load of computer updates to download very soon (if they don't already exist), but just in case there aren't we'll have to do it the old fashioned way and remember to personally set our clocks forward an hour on March 11th.

You can find more interesting incidents and anecdotes relating to DST here.

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