daylight saving

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Daylight Saving

Many, many people wonder why the United States observes Daylight Saving Time; those “people” are generally students who must adjust their dreaded morning schedules twice a year. This practice was thought up by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson in 1895 (not Benjamin Franklin, as you may believe), sealing his fate in history as “that guy” who causes us to have one hour less of sleep in the spring.

Why did George advocate for an extra hour? So he could go bug hunting and see what he was doing. The real idea was to have an extra hour of evening light, which meant more outside work could be completed. This is helpful for outdoor laborers and farmers — not so much for office employees. The Daylight Saving Time concept was presented to the English Parliament by William Willett a few years later (who, interestingly enough, is the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin. Feel free also to blame Coldplay for this development.)

Why did Florida Still Set Their Clocks Back This Year?

Florida is one of those states (like Arizona, Hawaii, and some Native American nations) that do not care for Daylight Saving Time. These clock shifts can disrupt everything from travel to billing to medical devices, not to mention established sleep patterns. It’s a nice surprise in the fall to get an extra hour of sleep, but that springtime “fall back” of one hour is enjoyed by literally nobody.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Florida decided to enact legislation exempting the state from the Uniform Time Act. This would put the Sunshine State (and of course, this move is called the “Sunshine Protection Act”) on permanent Daylight Saving Time. Various studies claim this is better for students and for the economy, and more light would mean fewer car crashes and lower crime. Studies have actually confirmed that there are 7% fewer robberies with an extra hour of daylight. Fewer car crashes also make sense because drivers can see more during the day than they can at night.

Of course, even though the Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, there are still some people who aren’t enamored with the idea. As one state representative recalled, he lived in Colorado during the Nixon administration, which instituted Daylight Saving Time during a gas crisis in the middle of winter. The sun, meanwhile, did not rise until 9 in the morning. Not only might this endanger children who walk to school, but it also presents issues for the strictly religious.

Either way, Floridians still had to set their clocks back an hour on Sunday, November 4. That’s because Congress hasn’t yet held a hearing on this issue and the changes have not been officially implemented; Senator Marco Rubio even introduced a bill that would allow the entire country to be on year-round Daylight Saving Time. Until those bills are heard, however, Florida had to change their clocks in time with the rest of the country.

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