It’s a common belief that the original purpose of Daylight Saving Time (DST) was to benefit farmers. But did you know that the farming industry actually pushed back against the seasonal time change?
While it might seem like a harmless tradition, the practice where we set our clocks forward by one hour during the spring and back again in the fall can have serious consequences for safety – both on the road and at work. Read on to learn more about the history of Daylight Saving Time, as well as safety risks to be aware of!
What’s the History of Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight Saving Time was first implemented by Germany to conserve resources and alleviate hardships related to coal shortages and air-raid blackouts during World War I, followed by the United Kingdom less than a month later.
The United States followed suit in March 1918, about a year after entering WWI. While the official reason was fuel conservation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also saw it as an opportunity to boost local commerce by giving Americans an extra hour of daylight for shopping and other purchasing activities.
While the retail and recreation industries reaped the benefits of longer days, other industries suffered. Experts say the movie industry was against DST as people were less likely to go into dark theaters when it was bright outside. Contrary to popular belief, the farming industry was also against the time change, as it meant they had less time in the morning to get their produce to market. This pushback eventually forced Congress to repeal Daylight Savings across the country after the war ended.
This cycle was repeated during World War II, when the U.S. reimplemented Daylight Saving Time to conserve coal and other energy resources for the war effort. The time change was once again repealed after the conflict ended, but this time more people were generally supportive of the time change.
Daylight Saving Time was permanently adopted in 1966, when the federal government passed the Uniform Time Act to standardize time across the country.
Daylight Savings and Traffic Incidents
The end of Daylight Saving Time is more than just an extra hour of sleep; it’s a period that demands heightened awareness on the road. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s Fatal Accident Reporting System, the week following this time change sees a significant rise in car accidents. This isn’t a coincidence; the sudden shift in lighting conditions can mess with the body’s internal clock, affecting alertness and reaction time.
AAA echoes this sentiment, urging drivers to be extra cautious immediately following DST. They point out that the change in lighting can make it harder to see pedestrians, cyclists, and even other vehicles, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.
Workplace Hazards Multiply After Daylight Savings
The seasonal time change has a major impact on workplace safety as well. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found that workplace injuries increase by nearly 6% in the days following the time change.
The increased risk is typically attributed to workers getting about 40 minutes less sleep, which can lead to decreased alertness and an increase in likelihood of workplace accidents.
Staying Safe After Daylight Saving Time
By expanding our understanding of these risks, we can take proactive steps to mitigate them. Whether you’re behind the wheel or on the job, a little extra caution can go a long way in ensuring your safety and that of those around you.
Public safety agencies recommend adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before the time change and being extra vigilant on the road and at work. It’s a small change that can make a big difference.
Keches Law Group Puts Safety First
Daylight Saving Time may be a long-standing tradition, but it’s one that comes with real personal injury and workplace accident risks. These trends are more than just numbers; they’re about real people getting hurt.
At Keches Law Group, we’ve always put our clients’ welfare above all else. Understanding the risks associated with Daylight Saving Time is crucial for your well-being and financial future.