Though Benjamin Franklin initially conceived of the idea of daylight savings way back in 1784 in an essay called "An Economical Project", the United States didn't do anything with it until 'An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States' was enacted on March 19, 1918 during World War I. The law proved to be so unpopular that it was repealed in 1919 but came back in the form of "War Time" in 1942 when it was instituted once again by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II. At that time, States and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time (DST) and could even choose when it began and ended which obviously caused a lot of confusion - especially with the railroads, bus companies, and airlines.
In 1966 Congress finally decided to step in and end the confusion caused by 100 million Americans observing Daylight Saving Time based on their own local laws and customs. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 was signed into public law on April 12, 1966 by then President Lyndon B. Johnson exempting only those States that passed legislation keeping them on Standard Time. In 1986, Congress once again tweaked the law to begin DST on the first Sunday of April and ending it on the last Sunday of October.
One more change is planned here in the U.S. in 2007 when The Energy Policy Act of 2005 goes into affect extending DST to start on the second Sunday of March and not switching back until the first Sunday of November. Of course, Congress has retained the right to revert to the previous law should the new change prove to be too unpopular as so many in the past have been. Daylight Saving Time in the rest of the world is highly variable but most of the countries of Western Europe switch over the last Sunday of March and switch back on the last Sunday of October.
Confusing? You bet! But not as confusing as it is to some people:
"In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded — one hour too early — killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims — two busloads of people.Leave it to man to screw up the entire concept of time and not leave well enough alone! Daylight Saving Time has many detractors, especially people who are prone to Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder such as myself who don't like the extra hour of darkness in the evenings and would rather get it over with in the mornings when I'm still half asleep! But it has its proponets as well who believe that DST saves energy for lighting in all seasons of the year and even believe that it reduces traffic accidents and fatalities by more than one percent.
"To keep to their published timetables, trains cannot leave a station before the scheduled time. So, when the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2:00 a.m. and wait one hour before resuming. Overnight passengers are often surprised to find their train at a dead stop and their travel time an hour longer than expected. At the spring Daylight Saving Time change, trains instantaneously become an hour behind schedule at 2:00 a.m., but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time."
All told I've got to agree with Robertson Davies in The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, "I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind ... At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier,to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves."
Naturally I have NO objection to being able to catch an extra hour of sleep tonight though I certainly do miss it in the Spring! How about you? Are you for DST or against it?