Cumberland Times-News

November 3, 2012

Turn it back

Eastern Standard Time returned this morning


Cumberland Times-News

— If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time to set your clocks back an hour. Daylight Saving Time has ended for this year and Eastern Standard Time resumes.

Remember: Spring forward, Fall back.

This move affects different people in different ways. Morning people will love it because daylight kicks in an hour earlier than it did yesterday. For other people — particularly those who now will face a homeward commute in the dark — it’s not much of a boon.

One way or another, it will take some adjusting. Motorists should be more careful, considering that traffic deaths are three times greater during at night than they are during the day, and nearly 60 percent of all pedestrian fatalities happen at night.

Daylight Saving Time is now practiced in all American states but Arizona and Hawaii, but it wasn’t always that way. Standard setting of clocks wasn’t even thought about at one time, and different towns even had different times. That changed with the advent of railroads and the horrific rate of accidents that happened when one train met another going the opposite way on the same track. A universal time schedule was adopted to meet that problem.

What we now know as Daylight Saving Time was first proposed in 1895 by a New Zealand entomologist who wanted more evening hours to collect insects. An English outdoor enthusiast proposed it in 1905 because he observed that too many of his countrymen were sleeping through much of the summer day.

The act that provided America’s Daylight Saving Time on a two-year trial basis was introduced in Congress by the late Rep. Harley O. Staggers Sr. of Keyser, a 2nd-District West Virginia Democrat, as an energy-saving measure in 1973. It was in response to the energy crisis brought on by the oil embargo.

It seemed to work, so we’ve kept it.