The Good and Bad of Daylight Saving Time

Twice a year, most states and some countries change their clocks by one hour.

What time is it? The answer depends on where you are in the world. It can also depend on what time of year it is. On Sunday March 10 at 2:00 a.m., many Americans will lose one hour of time. Clocks will be moved ahead one hour as part of Daylight Saving Time (DST). The idea behind Daylight Saving Time is to make better use of natural daylight. The time of 2:00 a.m. was chosen as early shift workers are usually still in bed. Also, most restaurants are usually closed by then. Train schedules were less likely to be disrupted.  

Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada, introduced DST in 1908. Germany was the first country to adopt DST in 1916. Many countries in Europe soon followed as they tried to save energy during World War I. The practice did not become law in the United States until 1966. 

Not all parts of the United States follow DST today. Hawaii is close to the equator and so the sun rises and sets at a similar time each day throughout the year. It has no need for DST. The U.S territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico also do not observe DST. The people of Arizona decided they did not want the sun to set an hour later during the hottest months of the year. However, the Navajo Nation within Arizona does follow DST. 

Many countries and states are debating if DST is still a good idea. Research has shown that DST is good for the economy as more people are likely to go shopping after work if it is not dark. It also shows that fewer crimes occur in the extended daylight hours. More evening light makes it safer for joggers and dog walkers and encourages more outdoor activities. 

However, research also shows that DST brings more reported health issues, traffic accidents, and injuries at work. Many farmers do not agree with DST because of negative effects on their livestock and crop schedules. DST was introduced to save energy. However, today, this can only happen if the extra daylight hours are spent outdoors.  

What Do You Think? Is Daylight Saving Time a good idea? 

Photo Credits: Ingram Publishing/AGE Fotostock