The time of changing the clocks back is upon us, as strange as it seems. Dating back to the 18th century, Daylight Savings Time has been observed since at least World War 1, but does that mean most people still agree with keeping the clock-changing tradition?
Why do we change clocks back and forth in the first place?
According to Dr. David Prerau, author of Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time, the idea of annually changing our clocks, in a figurative sense, is traditionally attributed to Benjamin Franklin. While living in Paris, and noticing that the sun was rising earlier than usual, Franklin realized that candles would be saved in people were rising with the sun. Bringing literal clocks into the picture came about with British builder, Willaim Willett, who also hoped to get people to rise with the sun. Although he fought to introduce the idea into the United Kingdom, however, he did not live to see it implemented.
As mentioned, the Start Time Act helped bring time zones into place during World War I, in an attempt to conserve war effort materials and limit the amount of nighttime tasks. Initially revoked at the end of the war, it returned during World War II, initially earning the name “War Time.” By 1966, the Uniform Time Act gave states the power to choose whether or not they implement Daylight Savings Time or pass proper ordinances.
In 2016, Fox News hosted a poll to see if people think that Daylight Savings Time should be kept in today’s day and age, especially since candles are not exactly the necessity they once were. Reportedly, 83% of people said that they don’t think it was necessary.
“Historically, it’s used to save energy. It reduces traffic accidents, and it benefits public health,” Prerau explained, adding, “People are more likely to go outdoors when it’s light out; it increases productivity.”
Reportedly, changing the times might help lower crime rates, as people are seemingly more likely to commit crimes outside in the hour after sunset that the hour before sunrise. As Prerau added, “People should ask themselves, is the unpleasantness of losing an hour sleep and changing your clocks and having some negative affects the first day or two more important than the benefit of having an extra hour of daylight for 8 months and reducing traffic accidents, crime and energy use? [sic]”