U.S. Senate Unanimously Votes To End Changing Clocks Twice A Year

What I always hated most about winter was how early it got dark. It would be dark before I left work in the evening. Work from home solved that for me long before it did for most other people but I still hated changing the clocks.

Airlines hate it even more, because of how it messes with their schedules. And what’s worse than changing the clocks is that the U.S. and Europe do it at different times. So all of a sudden a flight that leaves the U.S. at, say, 7 p.m. will arrive in Europe at a different time. That’s especially a problem at slot-controlled airports where airlines are assigned specific arrival and departure times. They manage this, of course, but it’s an unnecessarily complex hassle.

Well, U.S. rejoice because the Senate has just unanimously passed a bill to permanently end the practice of changing the clocks twice a year (it passed by unanimous consent). This wouldn’t start until November 2023 (so we just wouldn’t ‘fall back’ at that time). Waiting makes the transition easier, especially on… airlines (although it won’t be completely seamless unless other parts of the world go along).

Rubio noted that the bill delays implementation to November 2023, because, he said, the transportation industry has already built out schedules on the existing time and asked for additional months to make the adjustment.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, the lead Democratic sponsor, said Tuesday ahead of passage of the bill that “this would give us a chance for Americans all across the country to be rid of fall back and make Daylights Savings Time permanent and to add a little sunlight into most people’s lives.”

Personally I hate changing clocks in opposite directions from my family in New South Wales, Australia and having to calculate two different amounts of time for the difference between us when calling.

Daylight Savings Time was first implemented in parts of Canada beginning in 1908. Broad adoption began during World War I in Germany and Austria-Hungary, followed by the United States in 1918. The 1970s energy crisis saw more widespread adoption. Growing up I learned this was ‘for the farmers’ but many farmers don’t change their clocks since animals don’t change their patterns with the change of clocks. There are lots of debates over whether it saves energy or burns energy, whether the changes to our bodies for a few days entail significant economic loss, and even whether it leads to spikes in crime. Probably the effect isn’t very large either way, but then what’s the point in putting us collectively through it?

There’s no official word on if or when the U.S. House would take up the measure.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s better than nothing, but they should have stuck with regular time.
    Sadly, people associate daylight savings time with “better weather,” but don’t actually understand the ramifications of having sunrise at an unreasonably late hour in the winter.

  2. We did this once before, in the 1970s. We hated it so much, we changed it back. You could look it up and learn from history, but if it happened before I can remember, then it doesn’t count, right?

    Big downside – families in northern part of the country will be sending their kids to school in the dark if the don’t delay the start time. There’s already a huge debate about the start time for schools. If you’ve got two working parents and school age kids, this isn’t going to make it any easier, because they’re going to push start times even later.

  3. Is it Daylight Savings Time or Daylight Saving Time … watch an episode from Veep for a whole season of comedic debate about this topic.

  4. Why all the fussy! You don’t complain about people going to club and stay until after 3 am or you don’t complain about how Rich become Richer and Poor become Poorer. Time was not that’s important at all. They way they ( Congress and Senate are laugh) at us . We. Need to focus on thing that is very important on top of the list. I just don’t understand how someone will complain over a time change

  5. It would make sense if they had selected “Standard Time”, but sense is not anything our elected officials have an abundance of.

  6. Wondering if this means the rest of the countries (such as in Europe) would abandon it as well.

  7. While I would welcome the change, this is going to be a mini Y2K for IT people. There will be a lot of work needed to update equipment and remediate problems. Time is used for many things in technology, including negotiating encryption keys. The airlines will have a ton of work to do!

  8. @Chris – it is daylight saving (not savings) time! Get it right.

    One question is if US stays on daylight saving time do Arizona, Hawaii and the US territories have to move up an hour? They are on standard time year round. Previously the only option a state had was to remain on standard time the entire year – staying in daylight saving time all the time was prohibited by Federal law

  9. Europe does not reflexively follow the US in cultural issues. And it is much further north than most of the US – moving the clocks makes more sense the further north you go. (The closer to the equator you are, the less sunrise and sunset shift with the seasons and light and dark stay closer to 12 hours each.) Hawaii, being the furthest south, would benefit little from shifting clocks, therefore doesn’t shift time. Arizona, on the other hand, prefers an early sunset since it’s so hot there, nighttime hours are cooler in summer and thus preferred for early evening. Indiana, the other one that was always odd, was so far west in the Eastern time zone, that it made sense in it’s own odd way for the part of the state in the Eastern time zone to not shift forward in Spring, as it really shifted things too far off.

    In Canada, Saskatchewan is far west in the Central time zone and largely rural, so preferred no Daylight Time. Don’t get me started about Newfoundland 9but not Labrador), who’s special, so is in its own time zone, 30 minutes off from everyone else, and doesn’t do Daylight Time. St Pierre & Miquelon, just off the Newfoundland coast, isn’t on Newfoundland time, does Daylight time, so when travelling from one to the other, you adjust your watch by 30 minutes during some of the year and 90 minutes during the other part.

    Then there’s China, where everyone is on Beijing time, even though the country spans the equivalent of four time zones.

    I believe that Saudi Arabia was on solar time in the recent past, where clocks were set by local noon – every place in the country was on a different time.

  10. Something so miniscule to have to decide on is about the only thing these idiots can come to a conclusion about.

  11. Dark in the morning, Dark in the morning. Who cares? Don’t you people have lives that are more geared toward doing things in the afternoon/evening? I fully understand year round DST pushes winter sunrise later in the morning and that will be exacerbated in the northern latitudes, but we also have large population centers that have more mild winter weather. Weather not withstanding, after work/school in the afternoon and early evening is where most personal activity takes place – who gives a crap if it’s dark until 9:30AM when you’re going to be working or in school.

  12. Great maybe if you live in the eastern part of your time zone, not so much elsewhere. Here, slightly west of Atlanta in the eastern time zone, sunrise is now almost 8 AM. On an overcast morning that’s pretty damn dark. Yeah, no sun glare driving to work but there’s plenty of kids waiting for the school bus, some goofing around and running into the street, oblivious to the drivers intent on their wireless devices.

  13. JS,
    you clearly do not realize that one of the biggest real world impacts of morning darkness is an increased number of accidents esp. involving children going to/from school. There are far more accidents when the morning commute is in the dark vs. when it is during daylight.
    No place more than a few degrees from the equator has sunrise and sunset at the same time of day. You can’t make everyone happy w/ when sunrise and sunset happen according to a clock
    However, there are enormous public safety implications to time and avoiding moving clocks just because it is inconvenient will cost lives.

  14. I solved the problem:

    Every morning, in every time zone, the time goes from 1:59 am to 1:00 am. Every afternoon, in every time zone, the time goes from 1:59 pm to 3:00 pm. That way, the morning people get a reasonable sunrise time and the evening people get to enjoy the late sunset. Best of both worlds. And, really, anyone awake at 1:59 am isn’t going to care that they get an extra hour of party time (and most of us will be asleep anyway), and has anything really useful happened between 2 pm and 3 pm? We can live without ut.

  15. Great news. This is a win-win that is long overdue.

    Chris you are 100% wrong. A large majority (we just had a vote in CA but this is backed by polls) hate standard time. As Gary notes we hate that it gets dark early. It is terrible for after school sports and a host of other reasons. Nobody gives a rats *** about driving to school or work in the dark (many people not even doing the latter now) and in fact our state has pushed back school opening times so students get more sleep. Nobody in their right mind wants standard time back.

  16. The Nordic countries have such extreme differences in daylight hours between the summer and the winter that not changing the time seasonally would likely come with increased problems of sort. As it is the risks of accidents with bicyclists and pedestrians is in part a function of visibility. Also, the risk to sleep patterns and the mental well-being associated with that also may be a function of daylight exposure/conditions.

    Some countries in the Southern Hemisphere also have the same kind of daylight swings in parts as the Nordic countries.

  17. I don’t care one way or the other but if we do stick with one of the methods, I hope it’s Daylight Savings. Nothing better than those very long hours of daylight in May/June/July. Who doesn’t love a 9PM sunset or walking the dog at 9:30P and not needing a flashlight. I would also appreciate it not getting dark until 5PM in December as well. Again, no biggie either way, I just don’t want to go to standard time 12 mo a year

  18. The SCIENCE is quite clear that our internal clocks are timed to the sun, i.e., standard time year round.

  19. Does this make a year round 5 hour difference between Hawaii and East Coast Time or 6 hours?

  20. This is a classic example of typical behind the back door political deceit. Due to one of a myriad of “bet the system” senate procedures, not one single senator voted on it. It was literally done in the middle of the night. Not only was there no opportunity for discussion – several Senators were had already voiced concerns, but none were not notified it was going to be voted on.

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