Daylight Saving Time 2021: Everything to Know

by Emily Morgan
(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Love it or hate it, on Sunday, March 14, at 2 am, daylight saving time began. Many Americans set their clocks forward one hour. As a result, our sunsets will come later in the evening hours, and sunrises will start later into the morning hours.

Every year this act of “springing forward” causing a brief moment of confusion for millions of Americans. Even though we’ve been making this change for decades, many still find it odd, and some even despise it.

Daylight saving became a national routine in the 1960s, with the idea that we change the number of daylight hours we acquire. It was all about energy conservation: if the sun sets later in the day, many Americans will spend less time with the lights on, and we would save electricity.

Two States That Ignore Daylight Saving Time: Arizona & Hawaii

As for Arizona and Hawaii, they use a simple trick for daylight saving time: they ignore the change.

In 1967, Arizona’s state legislature decided to keep their clocks in standard time all year due to their hot climate. Their reasoning is an earlier sunset would allow Arizonians more time to enjoy the cooler temperatures. The islands of Hawaii decided to abolish DST as it seemed redundant since it didn’t make much of a difference.

Now, other states are attempting to follow suit. In 2018, Florida passed the Sunshine Protection Act that asks Congress to keep Florida in DST permanently.

In addition to the sunshine state, fifteen other states initiated similar acts to get around the issues. States such as Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, have also pushed for legislation to either abolish DST or keep it in their state all year round.

Some have made solid cases for DST to be in place all year. According to scientists, having more light later in the day could have more benefits than you think. For instance, as many of us partake in activities after work than beforehand, we’d be more likely to do more physical activity over passive ones.

The Dangers of DST

In addition, DST also comes with its dangers. Even though a one-hour change might not sound like much, for us humans, it is. As we run on biological clocks, even a somewhat subtle transition can have huge effects. Our bodies don’t take too kindly to being thrown off— even our pets notice it. According to Vox, a perfect example of how DST can have dangerous effects on our lives would be to look at driving.

In 1999, scientists wanted to determine what happens on the road when drivers undergo a disturbance in their sleeping patterns. They studied over two decades of car crash data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. After analyzing the data, they found a small yet significant rise in fatalities from car accidents the Monday after the time change.

The number of deaths from car accidents spiked to an average of 83.5 on Monday following DST compared with that of 78.2 on average Monday.