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  • Tifaine Tordjmann

Daylight Savings Explained

Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a practice of advancing clocks 1 hour in the fall, and going back an hour in the spring in order to make the best use of longer daylight available. For example, instead of a gradual increase in daylight, after March 10th the sun will start setting around 7pm instead of 6pm, and furthermore will rise around 7am and no longer 6am. The U.S. is apart of 70 countries who have adopted DST, a practice found efficient for most of today’s societies in order to conserve energy and make the most of all the days daylight (considering most individuals do not start work around between 7 and 9am— making the sun set around 7pm much more efficient than it rising at 6am). DST started in the U.S. in 1918, initially to cut energy costs during WWI, and after coming and going, it was signed into federal law in 1966. 

DST has its benefits. It has proven to reduce the number of vehicle accidents as people are able to drive home from work in daylight. With more daylight people are able to spend more time outside; walk their dogs after work, allow young children to play outside, go for runs…without feeling much danger that the night brings. DST has allowed for increased public health and quality of life, also diminishing crime rates. Nevertheless, it has been seen as controversial in certain aspects, explaining why not all countries have adopted it. Over 10 countries (Azerbaijan, Iran, Jordan, Namibia, Russia, Samoa, Syria, Turkey, and Uruguay) have abolished the practice, and within the U.S., Hawaii and most of Arizona no longer observe DST. Many countries see no advantage in moving the clocks forward, observing that in the short term, the bi-yearly one hour transitions can put individuals at a greater risk of mood disturbance, suicide, traffic accidents. Furthermore, many farmers have complained and lobbied against it because of the labor requiring them to be up at very early hours (avoid the heat, rush their crops to the market, etc.).

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