I have to admit, I was not happy and still am not happy with Daylight Saving Time. And, just to clarify, it is “Daylight Saving Time” not “Daylight Savings Time.” I was just fine and dandy with never having to change my clocks or worry about what time it was here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Our country – that is the contiguous United States – is divided into four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. When we are not in Daylight Saving mode, we are considered to be on standard time. A week ago we switched back to Eastern Standard Time (EST). Next March, we move to Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and observe Daylight Saving Time.
I grew up with Daylight Saving Time during the 1950s and the 1960s, and then adjusted to not having it in the 1970s, when our legislature dispensed with it. I spent 30+ years living with Eastern Standard Time and not changing my clocks, and I liked it.
Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.
Indiana’s time history has a checkered past. From 1918, when the Act of March 19, 1918 passed, establishing legal time zones in the United States, until 1961, the dividing line between the Eastern Time Zone and the Central Time Zone was the eastern border of Indiana. We once belonged to the Central Time zone. Interesting!
The entire state was on Central Time, and observed Daylight Saving Time (DST). In 1961, the Interstate Commerce Commission adjusted this line so that Indiana was split down the middle, with the eastern half of the state on Eastern Time, and the western half on Central Time.
Having the state split in two time zones was inconvenient and so, in 1967 Governor Roger D. Branigan petitioned the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to have the entire state of Indiana placed back on Central Time. Instead, DOT fixed the boundary in a position where all but ten counties in western Indiana (those ten counties were Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, and Jasper in the northwest and Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Spencer counties in the southwest) were in the Eastern Time Zone, but the state was given permission to exempt portions of itself from DST.
Although most portions of the state that were in the Eastern Time Zone did not observe DST, some counties – including Floyd, Clark, Harrison, counties near Louisville, Kentucky, and Ohio and Dearborn, counties near Cincinnati, Ohio – observed it unofficially due to their proximity to major cities in other Eastern Time Zone states. The Central time zone counties did observe DST.
Today only Arizona (except some Indian Reservations), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have chosen not to observe Daylight Saving Time. Until 2006, Indiana was also included in that group. One of Governor Daniels’ campaign promises was to bring Indiana into line with the other states which already recognized Daylight Saving Time.
One of the biggest arguments for Daylight Saving Time was the confusion caused by our Indiana zones and clock changes – or non-changes – on out-of-state companies transacting business in Indiana. I really have my doubts as to that argument. Many companies do business in every conceivable time zone, so it would seem that they would be astute at knowing what time it is at any given moment in various countries and states.
Despite public opposition, the Indiana legislature voted to move Indiana onto Daylight Saving Time in 2005. The change took effect in 2006. Indiana was not the only entity to tinker with its system of time change; Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, extending Daylight Saving Time by four weeks. Observation of DST now begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
Today, the arguments for or against Daylight Saving Time have nothing to do with war-time production. In fact, I don’t see how arguments can be made in favor of Daylight Saving Time, especially with our 24-hour-a-day society. Big-box stores never close. Fast-food chains are open close to 24-hours a day. Many factories work two or three shifts. Any energy conservation that occurred in our earlier history certainly has to be eaten up by our 24-hour lifestyle.
One final fact – although the world has a population of over 6.5 billion people, only 1 billion of those people are subject to Daylight Saving Time. Many of the foreign countries which are now the sources of cheap imports do not observe Daylight Saving Time. CAFTA countries, for the most part, do not observe DST. China does not observe DST.
Funny how that doesn’t stop our corporations from doing business with them. And, I doubt it will.
Although DST is common in Europe and North America, most of the world’s people do not use it.
DST never used (red)
DST used (blue)
DST no longer used (orange)