Loathed in the spring and welcomed in the fall, modern stressed-out Americans have a complicated relationship with the bi-annual time shift that is Daylight-Saving Time. It has been around since 1918, but it's still as misunderstood as ever. Here are seven facts about Daylight-Saving Time that may surprise you.
No. 1: Blame war, not farmers for Daylight-Saving Time
On March 19, 1918, Congress finally passed the Standard Time Act, and at the same time placed the country on daylight-saving time. Many have thought that daylight-saving time was designed to give farmers extra time to work in their fields and that it was an aid to productivity, especially during wartime. Actually, daylight-saving time was created to save energy in both World War I and II. — Baltimore Sun, Jul. 10, 1942
No. 2: Baltimore and other cities had opted out for years
Just because Congress enacted Daylight Savings Time in 1918 didn't mean everyone stuck with it. Baltimore, for one, spent the thirties not saving any daylight. On the morning of April 27, 1948, daylight-saving time finally came to Baltimore permanently after years of indecision and false starts. The transition went relatively smoothly, although there were a number of reported tardinesses at church services that Sunday and latenesses for work the following day. — Baltimore Sun, Jan. 6, 1974
No. 3: Different cities, different times
It may seem unbelievable but nearby cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore were on different clocks for small periods of time during the 1950s and 1960s. Most of the country was practicing Daylight Savings Time by then, but individual locales got to choose when to start. Eventually, the standards were established and everyone started switching at the same time. — Baltimore Sun, Apr. 29, 1950
No. 4: More car crashes occur after Daylight-Saving Time
A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver analyzed Canadian traffic data between 1986 and 1995 and found an 8 percent increase in traffic accidents on the Monday after the switch to daylight saving time. A similar study published in 2001 analyzed 21 years of deadly auto collisions in the U.S. Authors Jason Varughese of Stanford University and Richard P. Allen of the Johns Hopkins University concluded: "The sleep deprivation on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time in the spring results in a small increase in fatal accidents." — Baltimore Sun, Jun. 5, 1953
No. 5: Daylight-Saving Time takes a bite out of crime?
The pros and cons of Daylight-Saving Time are always hotly debated. But a study conducted in the 1970s by the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found that crime was down during Daylight Saving Time versus standard time periods. The thinking was less darkness during peak times meant less crime, especially muggings. — Baltimore Sun, Dec. 30, 1977
No. 6: Energy savings have been disputed
Indiana didn't switch over to Daylight Saving Time until 2006. So it was used recently to test the claim that Daylight Saving Time actually saves energy. A working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2008 found that the time switch actually increase electricity usage. "Consistent with Benjamin Franklin's original conjecture, DST is found to save on electricity used for illumination, but there are increases in electricity used for heating and cooling," the report read. — Baltimore Sun, May. 30, 1970
No. 7: Holdouts remain
Not every one in America practices Daylight Saving Time. The states of Arizona and Hawaii stay on standard time all year long. Many explain that Arizona's hot climate makes working after the sun goes down preferable. — Baltimore Sun, Jul. 8, 1928