The Dawn of Daylight Saving Time
Wednesday, October 27 2010 @ 09:14 AM EDT
Contributed by: Louis
First, The U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. has nothing to do with regulating daylight saving time. Oversight of daylight saving time first resided with the Interstate Commerce Commission. In 1966 the U.S. Congress transferred that responsibility to the newly created Department of Transportation.
But why is a transportation authority in charge of time laws? That answer, like the size of the Space Shuttle, dates back to the heyday of railroads.
In the early 19th century each locality set their own time, creating a crazy quilt of time zones, and time usage. When the railroads came in, that necessitated more standardization of time so that railroad schedules could be published."
In 1883 the U.S. railroad industry established official time zones with a set standard time within each zone. Congress eventually came on board, signing the railroad time zone system into law in 1918.
Since the only federal regulatory agency in existence at that time happened to be the Interstate Commerce Commission, Congress granted the agency authority over time zones and any future modifications that might be necessary. (Think about that, only one federal regulatory agency in existence in 1918)
In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the start and end dates for daylight saving time but allowed individual states to remain on standard time if their legislatures allowed it. Thus, the smart people in Arizona, Hawaii, and parts of Indiana voted to not make the switch.
FACT OR FICTION Daylight Saving Time equals more evening daylight
The drive behind the switch was to adjust daylight hours to when most people are awake and about by decreasing the amount of daylight in the morning hours so that more daylight is available during the evening.
How does this save energy? Some argue it won't because people may use more electricity during the darker mornings, canceling out any savings from not using that power at night. With only 10 hours of daylight during December, and most people awake far longer than that, one has to think that electricity will be used to light those dark hours, be it on a soccer field or in the home.