It's that time again ... change your clocks

It’s time to “spring forward” again. Clocks in the area will be turned forward one hour at 2 a.m. standard time on Sunday, April 3, making it 3 a.m. daylight-saving time. Clocks will “fall back” one hour on Oct. 30, 2005.

A few daylight-saving time facts:

• Studies done in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed a 1 percent decrease in energy usage due to daylight-saving time.

• The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Administration and local safety agencies suggests smoke detector batteries be changed at the beginning and/or end of daylight-saving time.

• Calls have been made to extend the time shift from one hour to two or more as a method of controlling power use in power-strained areas during the summer, as well as increasing the safety of trick-or-treating activities on Halloween.

• In response to its energy crisis, in 2001, California officials requested permission to extend daylight-saving time in a year-round implementation. (Due to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the request was never acted upon.)

• Studies in 1974 and 1975 suggested that daylight-saving time may result in fewer fatal car accidents and traffic accidents in general, and that it may expose people to less nighttime crime. (These results have since been challenged.)

Some historical information on daylight-saving time:

• Benjamin Franklin, during his term as a minister to France, first suggested the idea of a daylight-saving time in his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” first published in April 1784. More than a century later, an Englishman, William Willett, suggested it again in 1907. It was implemented in England in 1916.

• Although standard time in time zones was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, it was not established in U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, the Standard Time Act. The act also established daylight-saving time, a contentious idea at the time.

• Daylight-saving time was repealed in 1919 and became a local matter. It was re-established nationally early in World War II and was continuously observed from Feb. 9, 1942, to Sept. 20, 1945. After the war, its use varied among states and localities.

• The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance.

• Daylight-saving time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the eastern time zone portion of Indiana and by most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian reservation).

• Following the 1973 Arab oil embargo, Congress put most of the nation on extended daylight-saving time for two years in hopes of saving additional energy. The experiment was deemed a success, but Congress did not continue it in 1975 because of opposition — mostly from farming states.

• Due to their origins in the railroad industry, daylight-saving time and time zones are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, not by government time-keeping entities the National Institutes of Standards and Technology or the U.S. Naval Observatory.

• In 1996, the European Union (EU) standardized an EU-wide “summertime period.” It runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October. During the summer, Russia’s clocks are two hours ahead of standard time. With their high latitude, the two hours of daylight-saving time helps to save daylight.

• In the southern hemisphere, where summer comes in December, daylight-saving time is observed from October to March.

• Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes) don’t observe daylight-saving time, since the daylight hours are similar during every season.