Turn back time: Daylight saving time ends, standard time begins

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — It’s that time of year again, when clocks turn back an hour and daylight saving time ends for the year. The reset takes place Sunday at 2 a.m.

Some love it, others hate it

Many people have a love-hate relationship with the biannual time change.

According to the Associated Press, 7 in 10 Americans prefer not to switch back and forth to mark daylight saving time, a new poll shows.

Those involved in the outdoor recreation and tourism industry often praise daylight saving time because it provides an extra hour of lucrative sunlight for people to spend extra time golfing, hiking and doing other outdoor activities. Parts of Utah’s tourism industry have opposed legislative attempts – and there have been several – to drop daylight saving time for this reason.

However, opponents argue daylight saving time can be a health hazard, as the time change disrupts an individual’s sleeping patterns, or circadian rhythms. Studies have linked the time change to an increase in car accidents, injuries and suicide, according to TimeandDate.com.

Attempts to get away from daylight saving time

In Utah there have been multiple attempts in the Legislature to drop daylight saving time. One of the most recent attempts would have even placed Utah in a new time zone.

A resolution presented by Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorville, during the 2018 legislative session would have moved Utah from Mountain Standard Time to Central Standard Time. The resolution would have also petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to allow the state to drop daylight saving time.

Like the many measures before it, Harper’s resolution did not survive the session.

In 2017, Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Orem, and Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, proposed legislation that would put the question of dropping daylight saving time on the 2018 ballot. It also failed.

A 2014 survey conducted by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development showed nearly 67 percent of respondents favored year-round Mountain Standard Time, while only 15 percent preferred keeping the semiannual clock adjustments.

On the federal level, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, introduced a congressional bill that would allow states to choose between standard time and daylight saving time year-round.

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop in Washington, D.C., Jan. 9, 2018 | File photo courtesy of the House Committee of Natural Resources, St. George News

Bishop’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and introduced to the House proper and little more.

States are currently not authorized to opt out of standard time. However, in 2018 the Florida Legislature passed a bill that would put the state on year-round daylight saving time, moving it one time zone to the east, putting Florida in the same time zone as Nova Scotia.

The change will need to be approved by the federal government before the state can implement it.

On a wider scale, the European Union has also considered doing away with daylight saving time.

A little history

WWI-era poster promoting Daylight Saving Time, Date unknown | Public domain photo, St. George News

Starting on April 30, 1916, Germany and its World War I ally Austria-Hungary were the first to use daylight saving time as a way to conserve coal during wartime.

Britain, most of its allies and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year, and the United States adopted it in 1918.

During the energy crisis of the 1970s, Congress passed an act keeping daylight saving time year-round. That lasted from Jan. 6, 1974, to Feb. 23, 1975, when the order was rescinded, allowing standard time to return Oct. 27, 1975.

Hawaii is the only state that has fully opted out of daylight saving time. The majority of Arizona also does not observe it. However the Navajo Nation, which is primarily situated in Arizona and extends into Utah and New Mexico, does observe the time change. The Hopi Nation, completely surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight saving time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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