Sunday, November 4, 2018

Back to The Standard Future?

Today, in almost all of the United States, clocks were turned back an hour.  We have an extra hour today to complain about the twice a year exercise of turning clocks ahead an hour in the spring, and an hour back in the fall.
Speaking of fall - a tree for you - picture taken Binghamton, New York October 30

When I visited Florida (from my native New York City) for the first time in July of 1966, I was amazed to discover that Florida, in the same time zone as New York City, was an hour behind New York City time.

Why?  Because Florida was on year round standard time.  They didn't jump ahead an hour at the beginning of spring.  They had the same time year round.  What a concept!

Now, residents of all but a handful of states (Hawaii and Arizona) find themselves, today, an hour behind themselves,   Groggily, they will march into the week ahead bemoaning Standard time.  Why do we need it?  Why do we do it?  Is it because of the farmers, as so many think?

Not necessarily.

Because of - as a website claims- a department store chain in Boston, in 1918?

For whatever reason, here we are again.

So, what is Standard time?  Why is my time zone called Eastern Standard Time during the winter and Eastern Daylight Time during the summer?

On March 19, 1918 (so we are a little past the 100th birthday of this thing), the United States adopted the Standard Time Act, enacting time zones and daylight time.

In 1919, daylight time was repealed.

But then it returned.  It has returned, again and again, to the western world.  The timeline is fascinating.

Now, Florida, the same state that didn't have daylight time in July of 1966, is wanting to have daylight savings time year round.  In July of this year, they tried to do just that with the Sunshine Protection Act.

Not so fast, Florida.  It seems no state has the authority to authorize year round daylight time.

Since Western Florida is in a different time zone than Eastern Florida, things could get really confusing when Florida interacts with the rest of the eastern United States.  (Just ask Indiana, which had a summer mish-mash of Eastern Daylight, Eastern Standard, Central Daylight and Central Standard times, depending on your county, until 2006.  I can tell you from experience it made driving through Indiana during the summer somewhat interesting.)

Last year, Massachusetts wanted to go on year round daylight savings time (or even make up their own time zone).  That went nowhere, too.

Sadly, in the past week, we've had a number of events involving cars striking children waiting for the school bus or trying to board the bus.  In the most horrific accident, three siblings were killed in rural Indiana crossing the road to get on their bus.

Five children, in fact, killed in a three day stretch.  Some say it's because of us trying to stretch daylight time (which used to end on the last Sunday in October until 2005) a few more days.

So, for how much longer will we go through this?   Maybe until Standard Time celebrates its 200th birthday?

What do you think of springing ahead/falling back?


  1. Honestly I don't care either way. I do hate getting up in the dark, and dislike going home from work in the dark. But really it means nothing in my life. I just enjoy the sunshine when I can. thanks for the link to the 1918 thingy.
    :) gwingal

  2. Europeans are considering doing away with the time change next year. Will see if they actually do.

  3. At this point, they might as well leave the clocks where they are. Daylight Saving Time is a big pain in the backside. There was a time when every city and town had their own time, and on the farm you get up when the sun comes up (or sooner) and go to bed after it goes down. See, animals can't tell time.

  4. My US Senator informed me that DST saves enough energy to power 100,000 homes. Big deal. Since there are over 25,000 homes in my small community alone, we are talking tears in the ocean. I hate it.

  5. I could see in the early days when farmers needed it lighter longer but when I see 6 and 7 year olds waiting at 6:30am in the dark for the school bus, it worries me. I think they should stick to "spring ahead" year round.

  6. As far as the western Florida thing. Living where I do in Florida I am closer to Alabama and Mississippi than I am to Tallahassee. Heck I can be in New Orleans quicker than I can be in Tallahassee. I would much prefer to be in line with areas closer to me. I'm sure it would make things easier for State organizations to have one time zone. I do cross the state quite often I lose an hour going and gain one coming back which works fine too.

  7. I dislike having to get up and get to work before dawn. Other than that, I don't much care one way or the other. Although, on our ballot here in CA tomorrow is some measure to head us towards a year-round Daylight Saving time. I guess it has to be done in stages.


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