This article was first published by Readers Digest, but I found so much of it interesting I wanted to share it with you. When you finish, leave me a comment and tell me if you think we should end daylight savings time or continue to adjust clocks twice a year.
Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of Daylight Saving But it was a joke. In 1784, Franklin penned a satirical letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris outlining how many pounds of candle wax the city would save (64,050,000, according to his calculations) if only its clocks were better aligned with the rise and set of the sun. If residents had trouble adjusting, he also suggested the city ‘let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually.’ Now that’s a wake-up call.
The idea wasn’t taken seriously until 1907
More than a century after Franklin’s letter, a British builder named William Willet became the champion of Daylight Saving, and lobbied Parliament to adjust the time in April and September in order to take full advantage of the day’s light. It is said the idea came to him after riding his horse one summer morning and noticing how many blinds were still down, which signaled to him the sunlight was going to waste.
Daylight Saving Time became law during World War I
Germany and several other European countries had already mandated DST as a way of reducing electricity and thereby saving coal for the war effort. Recent studies have called this line of thinking into question, with researchers crunching data to decide whether or not DST really does save energy.
Our changing clocks have led to a fair share of confusion
After World War II, America repealed its national law requiring states to institute DST. Some towns decided to stick with it and some didn’t, which ultimately resulted in chaos. One 35-mile bus ride from Mounsville, West Virginia to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through seven different time changes. At one point, even the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota were on different clocks. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act standardized DST from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
More sunlight equals more sales
As it turns out, when Americans have an extra hour of sunlight in the summer, we spend millions more on golf outings and barbecues. In 1986, when Congress changed DST from six months to seven, the golf industry said the extra month brought in $200 million in additional sales of golf clubs and greens fees. The barbecue industry said the extra month was worth $100 million in sales of grills and charcoal briquettes.
Candy makers also have a lot at stake
‘For 25 years, candy makers have wanted to get trick-or-treating covered by Daylight Saving, figuring that if children have an extra hour of daylight, they’ll collect more candy,’ Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, said on NPR. During the 1985 hearings on DST, the candy lobby even went so far as to put candy pumpkins on the seat of every senator.
The number of accidents and heart attacks increases
Sleepyheads beware: A 2009 study found that Daylight Saving resulted in a whopping 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries. Another study found that the number of heart attacks surge as much as 24 percent on the Monday following our spring forward into Daylight Saving Time.
But the rate of crime goes down
The U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found that crime has consistently dropped during DST by 10 percent top 13 percent.
Some states just have to be different
Because the federal government has no law requiring states to observe DST, Hawaii and Arizona are the exceptions to the Daylight-Saving rule. At one point, Colorado wanted to implement DST year-round, in order to save residents from the ‘aggravation of resetting their clocks.’ In Texas, Republican Rep. Dan Flynn, authored a bill to exempt his state from observing DST entirely, with part of his argument focusing on the effect it might have on the start time of NFL games. The Texas House of Representatives turned this one down.
Don’t expect everyone to be on time
In a 2010 study by Rasmussen Reports, 27 percent of respondents admitted they’d been an hour early or late at least once in their lives because they hadn’t changed their clocks correctly. Remember: It’s spring forward; fall back.