It’s that time of year again, to “fall back.” Officially you can change your clocks back one hour, this Sunday, November 7th. But what is all the history behind daylight savings time? Most of us (myself included) probably have no clue of its history and fun facts! Well, I decided it was about time to do some investigating.
Daylight savings time was actually not enacted until March 19, 1918 but proved to be “unpopular” due to people waking up earlier and going to bed earlier. For years and years, daylight savings time was very inconsistent and became an option to cities and states. Can you imagine the confusion? Even with the Interstate Commerce Commission getting involved in the early 60’s, because would still not follow the rules. Farmers debated the issues, and state governments could not agree.
Finally, in 1966 Congress stepped in an implemented the Uniform Time Act. Initially the saw stated that daylight saving time would start on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October. But as we all know today, since the Energy Policy Act, as of 2007 daylight saving time begins at 2am on the second Sunday of March and concludes at 2am on the first Sunday of November. Of course, the easiest way to remember is to spring ahead and fall back. (Personally, I still get confused sometimes.)
So with all this change and confusion, I found some interested facts that are related to daylight saving time. Just a few fun facts:
– Daylight Saving Time can change birth order for twins, on paper, that is. During the time change in the fall, one baby could be born at 1:55 a.m. and the sibling born ten minutes later, at 1:05 a.m. In the spring, there is a gap when no babies are born at all: from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. This actually occurred in November 2007, Laura Cirioli of North Carolina gave birth to Peter at 1:32 a.m. and, 34 minutes later, to Allison. However, because Daylight Saving Time reverted to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m., Allison was born at 1:06 a.m.
-When the clocks fall back one hour in October, all Amtrak trains in the U.S. that are running on time stop at 2am 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 2am, but they just keep going and do their best to make up the time.
-Through 2006, the daylight saving time period has closed on the last Sunday in October, about a week before Election Day. The extension of daylight saving rime into November has been proposed as a way to encourage greater voter participation, the theory being that more people would go to the polls if it was still light when they returned home from work. The U.S. law taking effect in 2007 pushes the end of daylight saving time to the first Sunday in November. In some years (2010, 2021, 2027, and 2032), this will fall after Election Day, giving researchers the opportunity to gauge its effect on voter turnout.
-Children’s pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year. A new law to extend daylight saving time to the first Sunday in November took effect in 2007, with the purpose of providing trick-or-treaters more light and therefore more safety from traffic accidents. But the 2007 switch may not have had much effect, as it appeared that children simply waited until dark to go trick-or-treating.
-In Antarctica, there is no daylight in the winter and months of 24-hour daylight in the summer. But many of the research stations there still observe daylight saving time anyway, to synchronize with their supply stations in Chile or New Zealand.
And if you want something extra fun, you can print out this reminder to fall back coloring page!
Information courtesy of webexhibits.org.