History of Daylight Saving Time

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(NEWS10) — Americans’ ambivalent relationship with Daylight Saving Time (DST) began more than a century ago. It was first adopted by Germany to save fuel and power shortly after the start of World War I (WWI) according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

In a July 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to Congress, CRS said the United States (U.S.) first approved the use of DST under the Standard Time Act in 1918. It wasn’t until 1966 that it became federally mandated with the passage of the Uniform Time Act.

As part of their report and part of ongoing research demanded by Congress, CRS looked at the effect DST has on energy consumption, health, traffic safety and crime. They determined DST has very little impact on energy consumption. Only a .02 percent reduction in primary energy consumption based on 2007 data.

The report indicates a more potentially lethal effect of DST is Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) or heart attack, especially among males or those who have a prior history of AMI. Research regarding this phenomenon is ongoing across the country. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a report on the link between DST and AMI in March 2019. The report can be found here.

The last time traffic safety or crime was studied in relation to DST was in 1974. At that time it was determined through a joint effort with the Department of Transportation and the National Bureau of Standards that DST had virtually no impact on traffic safety or crime statistics.

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