On the Beat: 3/22/16

What time is it?

By Jim Bucher

Don’t know about you, but this whole time change deal a week or so ago is still messing with me. I know, I know, you’re saying, “Oh come on, you just lost an hour of sleep is all.”

Right, but when you think about it, instead of eating lunch at noon, it’s now 1 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. is 7 p.m., night time around 11 p.m. turns into midnight and so on and so forth.

But to automatically tell your body what you’ve been doing for six months—a routine if you will—is all now going to occur an hour later is easier said than done.

Heck, leading up to the Daylight Saving Time spring forward an hour deal, I took steps to stave off the blind side hit to my psyche. The Friday before the early Sunday morning change I set all my clocks ahead in hopes of blunting the trauma. Not sure if it worked other than causing mass chaos for appointments and such.

“Wait, school starts at 8:10 a.m., but it’s really 9:10 a.m. Now I’m confused.”

My question is, though, is this whole time change ordeal (obviously set up back in the coal lantern days) still relevant in 2016?

Well, as you may or may not know Daylight Saving Time was created so that during the warmer part of the year, evenings would have more daylight and mornings have less. Most areas of the United States currently observe daylight saving time (DST), which begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

We use fun wordplay to remember—you know, “spring forward, fall back.”

DST was observed in some states until World War II, when President Franklin Roosevelt instituted it year round, called “War Time” in 1942. After WWII from 1945 to 1966 there was no federal law on daylight saving time, so localities could choose when it began and ended or drop it entirely.

Then, in 1962, the transportation industry found the lack of consistency confusing enough to push for federal regulation. The result was the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

Are you following? Because I may surprise you with a pop quiz …

Now, it gets more complicated.

A congressional act in 1967 mandated states were allowed to exempt themselves from DST as long as the entire state did so. If a state chose to observe DST, the time changes were required to begin and end on the established dates. (Did that make sense?)

In 1967 Arizona and Michigan became the first states to exempt themselves from DST.

In 1972 the act was amended, allowing those states split between time zones to exempt either the entire state or that part of the state lying within a different time zone. The newly created Department of Transportation was given power to enforce the law.

During the 1973 oil embargo by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), in an effort to conserve fuel Congress enacted a trial period of year-round DST beginning January 6, 1974 and ending April 27, 1975.

I’m old enough to remember that and my father using inappropriate words to describe how he felt.

The trial was hotly debated. Those in favor pointed to increased daylight hours in the winter evening: more time for recreation, reduced lighting and heating demands, reduced crime and reduced automobile accidents.

The opposition was concerned about children leaving for school in the dark.

So, then in 1975, the country returned to observing summer DST. Leave it to government involvement, which never seems to be a good thing.

This also begs the question, “Does anyone really know what time it is?” Sounds like a good song lyric to me.

So literally after an act of Congress, and an expensive study (you know it was), The National Bureau of Standards (whatever that is) concluded in its report called “Review and Technical Evaluation of the Department of Transportation Daylight Saving Time Study” (WHEW!) in 1975 found no significant energy savings or differences in traffic fatalities.

It did find significant evidence of increased fatalities among school-age children in the mornings during the four-month period. If you have kids with an early school start time, you can relate.

Finally, with yet another act of Congress, (don’t they have anything better to do?), 1986 was the year the Uniform Time Act brought us the Daylight Saving Time we observe today.

Whew, don’t know about you, but seems like a big waste of time to me.

Cheers and can’t wait to get my hour of life back this fall.


For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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