Daylight-saving time ends this Sunday at 2 a.m. – but it's possible it could not be going away in the future in South Carolina. The issue is fraught with surprising controversy.
Since the introduction of modern daylight-saving time as an emergency measure during the 20th century’s two world wars, many countries have been adjusting the clock one hour ahead in spring and winding it back by an hour during fall.
“Springing forward” became a way of life in the United States during the energy crises of the 1970s. The idea was daylight-saving time would save energy and reduce reliance on oil imported from unfriendly nations in the Middle East because people returning home from work would not have to turn on their lights until sunset one hour later than standard time.
According to timeanddate.com, advantages include the extra hour of daylight in the afternoon for those who work later hours, exercise in the evenings or need to complete outdoor household chores such as mowing the grass, gardening or fixing windows, roofs or other parts.
Others have reported that daylight-saving time can be linked to reduced road injuries. A joint Transport Research Laboratory and University College of London study predicted that less people would be killed and injured in road accidents if an hour of daylight was transferred from the morning to the afternoon.
And there are arguments on the idea that daylight-saving time reduces electricity usage and promotes energy efficiency. Some say the extra hour in the afternoon can counter blackouts and other electrical failures that can occur later in the day. Others say that it influences people to spend more time out of the house, thus decreasing the need for artificial lighting as well as the likelihood of using home electric appliances.
Complaints about daylight-saving time include safety fears in the dark mornings, especially for school children waiting for a bus in some areas. The result of such concerns has been no daylight-saving time in some countries.
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And in this country and others, there are those believing that life is less complicated without daylight-saving time, thus minimizing confusion and interruption associated with time, including changes to schedules and food preparations.
Farming groups have also expressed anti-daylight time views, saying it has a significant adverse impact on rural families, businesses and communities.
Daylight-saving time’s current schedule in the United States was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended summer time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, shrinking standard time to just four months of the year.
But there are moves to change that. Already people living in Arizona, Hawaii and the U.S. territories do not change their clocks. And South Carolina lawmakers are considering abandoning the time change also.
S.C. Senate President Harvey S. Peeler Jr. has been working on the issue for a number of years. The upper chamber has passed his legislation that favors keeping the state on daylight-saving time all year. The House is to consider the measure when it returns in 2020.
The change would require a change in federal law, which allows states to opt out of daylight-saving time but not the opposite in opting out of standard time.
Peeler writes: “I hope we will join with Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oregon, Delaware, Utah, Maine and Washington in passing legislation requesting the permanent time change to daylight-saving time.”
But with about 40 states debating the issue, and half wanting one time and half another, there must be some kind of federal standard. Different times in different states will pose problems. Consider that a change by South Carolina and not Georgia and/or North Carolina would effectively put the Palmetto State in a different time zone for part of the year.
Changing time twice a year is far less a headache than would be figuring out what time it is in different states based not only on their time zones but whether their elected leaders decide to adopt full-time daylight-saving time year-round.
Unless a national change is made to adopt standard time all year or daylight time year-round, the twice-yearly time change should remain.