Return to standard time brings back memories
As the time on watches, in vehicles and on household appliances is adjusted from daylight saving time to standard time — which officially begins on Sunday at 2 a.m. when clocks are turned back to 1 a.m. — the time-change events of 40 years ago may come to mind.
In the fall of 1973, the nation was in the early stages of the Middle Eastern oil embargo that would dominate energy policy for much of the decade.
The energy crisis, as it was commonly known, resulted in higher prices, fuel shortages and long lines at gas pumps. It raised public awareness that energy supplies were not infinite and led to efforts — some more successful than others — to reduce fuel consumption.
One relatively short-lived energy conservation effort was the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973.
When then-President Richard Nixon signed off on the bill on Dec. 15 of that year, the thought was that a year-round switch to daylight saving time would save energy.
“We have taken a number of actions to meet the energy crisis, and more will have to be taken. Many require inconvenience and sacrifice,” the president said at the time of the signing. “But daylight saving time on a year-round basis, which will result in the conservation during the winter months of an estimated equivalent of 150,000 barrels of oil a day, will mean only a minimum of inconvenience and will involve equal participation by all.”
In addition to lowering electric usage, the two-year plan was supposed to offer benefits such as reducing crime, improving traffic safety and giving children more daylight time to play outside.
It didn't quite work out that way.
The nation switched to standard time as usual in the fall of that year but on Jan. 6, 1974, the prescribed switch back to daylight saving time took many by surprise.
Children reported they were frightened by dark early morning waits at school bus stops and parents said they were concerned about the safety of their children.
An Associated Press story from the time contained reports of school crossing guards being issued flashlights and schools adjusting their hours. There was news about a 16-year-old girl in Seymour, Conn., who was seriously injured when she was hit by a car while making her way to school about a half hour before daylight.
Then-West Virginia Rep. Ken Hechler was quoted by United Press International as saying the change was making the nation grumpy.
“Most people don't like getting up in the middle of the night,” Hechler said. “It makes them much grouchier until mid-morning.”
Complaints resulted in Congress modifying the legislation and most of the nation switched back to standard time on Oct. 27, 1974. Daylight saving time rolled around early again the next year, on Feb. 23, 1975.
Most states returned to the more familiar biannual schedule of adjusting clocks in 1976.
Since 2007, most states in the U.S. change clocks to standard time on the first Sunday in November and back to daylight saving time on the second Sunday in March.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin Area schools boost security in response to threat against student
- Munhall officials miffed at ex-manager for leaving town
- Clairton residents share concerns over sewage bills
- W. Mifflin backs drilling at airport
- West Mifflin official: Buyer expected soon for old administration building
- Glassport plaque gets new home
- McKeesport lawmaker’s bill would fund more police by upping fines
- County investigators determine fatal McKeesport fire started in living room
- Accident at Port Vue crossing delays trains
- Teen’s family turns tragedy into lesson for McKeesport students
- Arbitration hearing between animal shelter, Youghiogheny Country Club delayed