What you didn’t know about Daylight Saving Time
We'll get to what you didn't know about Daylight Saving Time in a second. First, what you need to know.
It happens this weekend. Saturday March 13, when you go to bed, set your clocks an hour ahead. Yes, you lose an hour's sleep. The old 'fall back spring ahead' is the mnemonic device. But in return for losing sleep you gain more light at the end of your day. In New Jersey on Saturday the sun sets at 6:03. On Sunday it will set at 7:04.
Now for what you maybe didn't know. For that longer daylight you can thank a guy who made a living out of playing with bugs. Yep. An entomologist from New Zealand, George Hudson, first proposed the modern concept of DST, or Daylight Saving Time. It was literally that he longed for added daylight after typical work hours to catch more bugs. Seriously. He wrote papers on this. Those papers later caught the interest of an English builder by the name William Willett who took up the cause in the U.K. to no avail during his lifetime.
But in Canada in 1908 Port Arthur, Ontario became the first city in the world to adopt DST. The first adoption of Daylight Saving Time nationwide was Germany and the German Empire including its ally Austria-Hungary in 1916. This was only one year after Willett's death. Missed it by THAT much! Germany believed it was a way to save coal during World War I so soon other nations including Britain joined in.
The United States didn't adopt it until 1918. That same year as World War I ended most places that had adopted it dropped it. It proved unpopular in our country because back then most people woke up earlier and went to bed earlier than they do today. So for the same reason people like it today, they hated it then. But the U.S. continued to flirt with it throughout the years, with states free to do as they pleased regarding adoption. Today most of the country observes it.
Now here's a really interesting wrinkle. Imagine if New Jersey remained on Daylight Saving Time year-round while all our surrounding states did not. Half the year we would be on a different time than New York City and Philadelphia. Chaos, right? Well that exact proposal has actually been made. State Senator Shirley Turner offered a proposal two years ago to abandon standard time altogether and remain forever on DST. She cited medical studies concerning sleep deprivation, heart attacks and car accidents from the time change adjustment.
“By getting rid of the time change we can completely avoid the negative side effects of this outdated, unnecessary practice and rest easy all year-round,” Turner said.
One problem. While states can choose not to observe DST, they are not allowed to choose to remain on it permanently. It would require a change to federal law under the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Doh!
But what if it could happen? What if we could get the federal government to make that change? Would you be in favor of year-round Daylight Saving Time? Take our poll below.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.