NEW JERSEY, NJ - The time to spring the clocks ahead has arrived. Garden State residents are either annoyed about the loss of an hour of sleep tonight or excited about the prospect of longer days. Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8 and lasts until Sunday, November 1. The process of changing clocks back in fall and ahead in spring began during World War I as a way to conserve energy.
Federal regulation of time began in 1918 with the Standard Time Act, which set up the boundaries for the standard time zones in the United States. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act established the current practice of Daylight Saving Time, which runs from March through November. The Energy Policy of 2005 made Daylight Saving Time four weeks longer.
Only Congress or the Secretary of Transportation can make a time-zone adjustments. It is the United States Department of Transportation that is responsible for overseeing time zones as well as Daylight Saving Time.
The Uniform Time Act was passed to bring order to the countries clocks because up until that point each state regulated their own clocks, which lead to a bit of confusion in many spots. However, since the Uniform Time Act was not made mandatory, folks living in Arizona and Hawaii won't have to remember to turn their clock forward an hour before going to bed tonight. US Commonwealths also do not adjust their clocks in fall and spring.
Some states like Florida, Massachusetts and California explored legislation to allow Daylight Saving Time to stay in place all year while another handful of states have been considering bills about adjustments. Florida's Sunshine Protection Act seeks to keep Daylight Saving Time year-round. The Sunshine Protection Act 2019 is currently awaiting Congressional approval. It cannot go into effect in the Sunshine State unless Washington lawmakers give their stamp of approval. Californians voted on the idea on Election Day in 2018. The Golden State's voters passed Proposition 7 which seeks to make Daylight Saving Time a mainstay in California. However, just like Florida, the bill requires Congressional approval before it can go into effect.
Parents have sounded off about the negative impact the spring and fall time changes have on children's sleep habits. Research have also shown that workplace and car accidents spike on the Monday following the start of Daylight Saving Time. As the debate continues, remember to turn the clocks forward before going to bed tonight.