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Daylight saving time is here again. So why are we still changing our clocks in the US?


What to Know

  • The Sunshine Protection Act would make daylight saving time the new permanent time (no more time change)
  • The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the legislation in March 2022, then allowed the bill to expire
  • Sen. Marco Rubio then reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023

No one can deny San Diegans love sunlight. With the darker winter months of the year behind us, San Diegans can thank March’s daylight saving time (and the earth’s position as it revolves around the sun) for a whole other hour of those sweet, sweet solar rays.

Daylight saving time has Americans in every state except for Hawaii and Arizona moving their clocks an hour forward on Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m. At that point, time will automatically more ahead to 3 a.m. Time travel!

The hours of daylight have been steadily growing since the Winter Solstice (the first day of winter). Thus, the evening of March 10 will come with a later sunset, and sunrise and sunset times will be about one hour later than the day before, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The sun will rise at 7:04 a.m. on the morning of March 10, whereas the sun rose at 6:06 a.m. on March 9, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On that first evening of DST, the sun will set at 6:53 p.m.

By the time summer truly sets in on June 20 (first official day of summer), sunset time in San Diego will stretch all the way to 8 p.m.!

On July 7, sunset time will revert to 7:59 p.m. and grow steadily earlier as the daylight saving time period recedes, according to NOAA.

If you prefer more daylight, try to get as much as of it as you can before Nov. 3, when the clocks “fall back” again.

Why the time change?

When you wake up on that Sunday at 2 a.m., yawn, adjust your sleeping cap, and wind the long hand forward an hour, you might wonder: Why are we still doing this?

Here’s why.

If you’re vaguely remembering something about a bill to stop the time change and make it permanent, it’s not just your sleep-deprived brain talking.

The twice-yearly changing of the clocks is a ritual that’s quite unpopular. Plenty of states have introduced legislation to provide year-round daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Here’s an update on the battle to end it.

Benjamin Franklin gets credit for a lot of things, but creating Daylight Saving Time shouldn’t be one of them.

The battle to make daylight saving time permanent

Back in March 2022, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the “Sunshine Protection Act” introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would have made daylight saving time permanent starting in November 2023, which means Americans would stop switching their clocks back or forward twice a year, according to NBC News.

That bill was stalled in the House and it expired.

However, Sen. Rubio reintroduced the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2023” in March 2023 to make daylight saving time permanent across the nation.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. also introduced a bill in the House to make daylight saving time permanent, according to NBC News.

The House of Representatives must first pass the bill, then President Joe Biden must sign it before Americans can kiss the time change goodbye.

A study published in Cell Press in 2020 found that springing forward each year increases the risk of fatal traffic accidents by 6%. The University of Michigan found a 24% increase in the number of heart attacks that occurred on the Monday just after the time switch, compared to other Mondays.

Would removing the time change do anything?

Maybe. Maybe not! In the mid-70s, the U.S. had year-round daylight saving time, but that quickly became unpopular and was reversed.

Regardless of time change laws, the earth is still tilted on its axis at an average of 23.5 degrees, according to NOAA. That tilt is responsible for seasonal changes and thus the amount of sunlight you get where you live. Your location on the earth also affects how much sunlight you’ll get in a year. Generally, the closer you are to the equator, the more sunlight you’ll get throughout the year, NOAA says.

Can my state opt out of daylight saving time?

States are actually allowed to opt out of DST and remain in standard time year-round (as Hawaii and Arizona have done). But, they are not allowed to establish DST year-round, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Every spring we set our clocks forward an hour, and every fall we set them back, but why? Learn the real story behind Daylight Saving Time.

Where did daylight saving time come from?

Close to the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Standard Time Act into law, putting daylight saving time into effect for the first time in the U.S. in March of 1918, according to the Library of Congress. The move was intended to save energy costs during WWI.

About one year later, the law was repealed due to the war’s end, according to NBC Bay Area.

In World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted a year-round daylight saying time in February 1942 he called “war time.” That DST lasted until Sept. 30, 1945.

When the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966, standard time was mandated across the country within established time zones. However, states could still opt out.

When the 1973 oil embargo hit, America needed to conserve energy. Thus, President Richard Nixon signed year-round DST (the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act) into law, hoping to ease the national gas crisis.

Congress enacted a trial period of all-year DST from January 1974 to April 1975.

The time change was unpopular. Eight Florida children died in traffic accidents that were linked to the time change, according to NBC News.

Permanent daylight saving time was reversed in October 1974 by President Gerald Ford.


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