[3/8/18] Daylight Saving Time Kicks Off Sunday At 2 AM

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Daylight saving time, which starts its annual eight-month run at 2 a.m. Sunday, was first enacted by the federal government March 19, 1918, during World War I as a way to conserve coal. 

And though it was halted nationally later that year, it persisted in some form at local or state levels for decades before being finally being recognized again nationally in 1966 by the Uniform Time Act.

To many a minor annoyance or a bit of relief, daylight saving time reminds us of the sun’s daily influence on our lives and tells us spring is on its way. 

Who’s in charge of time?

Surprisingly, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is in charge of daylight saving time and all time zones in the U.S. 

“The oversight of time zones was assigned to DOT because time standards are important for many modes of transportation,” according to the department’s website.

The DOT says daylight saving is observed because it saves energy, saves lives by preventing traffic accidents and reduces crime. 

The agency boasts people tend to spend more time outside during daylight saving time, meaning they run household appliances and lights less during those eight months. Also, the DOT said, it prevents traffic incidents because people are driving around more during the light hours. It also is a crime deterrent, DOT says, because people are out during the daylight and not at night, “when more crime occurs,” the agency says.


In 2007, the federal government expanded daylight saving time in order to reduce energy consumption. Daylight saving time now accounts for about 65% of the year.


States have the final say on daylight saving

Not everyone agrees it offers energy-saving benefits, however. Some studies report the time switch saves energy on lighting but is surpassed by increases in heating and air-conditioning. 

Whether to observe daylight saving time is purely a state matter, so how a state determines that — through law, resolution, or executive order — is up to the state. The state would just need to let the DOT — and the rest of the world — know  it no longer observes daylight saving time, if that is the decision.

Hawaii and most of Arizona don’t take part in daylight saving time. Arizona, which  gets ample sunlight, opted out in 1968. But certain Native American reservations in Arizona still participate. Other non-observers are American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.