This coming Sunday is the day most of us in the United States are to turn our clocks back one hour as Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends the first Sunday of November.
There have been many reasons for establishing DST, some factual, some not so factual. One I always heard was that it was established to give farmers more hours of daylight in which to work. However, that never made sense to me as farmers work from daybreak to sunset, no matter what time it says on some clock.
This morning I decided to check online to see if I could find some verified reasons for the time change, and I found this on Wikipedia:
Modern DST was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson, but the practice is controversial. Adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but causes problems for farming, evening entertainment, and other occupations tied to the sun.
Traffic fatalities are reduced when there is extra afternoon daylight, but its effect on health and crime is less clear. Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity, modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.
DST’s occasional clock shifts present other challenges. They complicate timekeeping, and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, recordkeeping, medical devices, heavy equipment, and sleep patterns. Software can often adjust computer clocks automatically, but this can be limited and error-prone, particularly when DST protocols are changed.
In a letter to the editor in The Dallas Morning News, Jim Watt, who works for American Airlines and handles takeoff and landing slots at European and Asian airports, wrote that the difference between the U.S. and European time changes creates havoc for the airline industry. In the European Union, their version of DST – Summer Time – begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.
The result, Watt wrote, “Are airline schedules that are compromised because most large European airports are unable to accommodate the one-our shift of our schedules required to maintain the normal departure and arrival times in the States.”
I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of DST, but do remember appreciating the extra daylight hours at the end of a workday when I had a 9-5 job. It was also easier to adjust to the changes when I was a bit younger.
What about you? Do you like DST? Is it easy for you to adjust? Do you think there should be a global schedule that has the time change on the same day and time?