While most of the nation “springs forward” for daylight saving time early Sunday (we're talking 2 a.m., local time), the residents of two states will not have to adjust their clocks. People in Arizona and Hawaii simply do not observe daylight saving time -- a longstanding tradition that is confusing or hard to justify even to many who do obey it.
Daylight saving time, originally known as fast time, was first instituted by the U.S. government during World War I. Since then, the responsibility for keeping the nation’s time on track -- and yes, there’s an official clock for that -- has been permanently entrusted to the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Uniform Time Act of 1966.
Only two states -- Arizona and Hawaii -- have passed legislation to opt out of that act though legislators in other states including Texas, Alabama and Utah have considered following suit, the Arizona Republic reported. Members of the Navajo Nation who reside in one corner of Arizona do honor daylight time.
For now, Arizonans seem perfectly happy with their decision to stay on standard time. In January, a representative in Arizona introduced legislation to adopt daylight time alongside its neighbors, but quickly withdrew his proposal after constituents responded with “shock and outrage,” the Republic reported.
Residents there are not alone in their sentiments: About half of Americans -- 43 percent -- do not believe pushing the clock forward serves any practical purpose, Rasmussen Reports found. In a telephone survey of 800 Americans conducted toward the end of February, the polling group found 11 percent of people incorrectly said they are supposed to “fall back” this time of year and 8 percent are not exactly sure what they’re supposed to do. Even the percentage of people who were correct in saying they should “spring forward” -- 81 percent -- had dropped 8 points from last year.
Twice a year, the tradition also creates confusion among countries, which may be on a different schedules for adjusting their clocks -- if they choose to do so at all. The time difference between New York and London, for example, is typically five hours but in the next three weeks, that difference drops to only four as Brits wait to adjust their clocks, NBC News noted. In Canada, Saskatchewan is the only province that does not observe the switch.
Meanwhile, residents of 13 other states including Oregon, Idaho, Texas and the Dakotas have their own time-related issues -- they have multiple time zones. In Indiana, 80 counties are on Eastern Time while a dozen others in the western part of the state abide by Central Time.
If they ever want to redraw these boundaries, state officials must follow the federal government's process to file a request for adjusting the boundaries of a time zone, which can only be granted by Congress or the secretary of transportation. The decision-making entity considers a variety of factors including patterns of movement of goods and services, the placement of schools and worship centers within the community and the location of the nearest airport. When Perry County in Indiana applied to join Eastern Time in 2007, the government rejected its request even though the county is further east than 20 others already operating on Eastern Time, USA Today reported.
Anyone with complaints of lost sleep or confusion because of daylight time can blame Benjamin Franklin -- he originally suggested it as a way to conserve energy by shifting people's most productive hours to coincide with the cycle of the sun -- thereby allowing citizens to work by the light of day rather than burning candles or, in today's world, flipping a switch, the Los Angeles Times reported. That plan hasn’t necessarily panned out, as the Republic points out:
Arizona participated for one summer. Then we realized what an awful idea it was to have more sunlight in the evening. Longer sunlight means more air conditioning and more energy used. And more misery.
Researchers in Indiana have found similar results in their state, which officially most of its counties to daylight saving time in 2006 after permitting a patchwork of adoption before that. They analyzed data on home electricity use and did not find any energy savings associated with the switch, National Geographic reported. Contrary to popular belief, the policy is not farmer-friendly as Indiana’s farmers have called it “unnatural” and “unhealthy for cows,” the Indianapolis Star reported.