Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Daylight saving time returns at 2 a.m. Sunday, so be sure to turn your clocks forward one hour, despite ongoing efforts in Utah and the U.S. to end the age-old practice.
While Utah lawmakers passed a record number of bills this year, the issue hasn’t been mentioned once after a flurry of proposals over the past few years.
That’s because there haven’t been any major changes since the Utah Legislature passed a bill in 2020 that would require Daylight Saving Time in the Beehive State. The bill depends on Congress reforming the Uniform Time Act of 1966; at least four of the 10 other Western nations must also pledge to do the same before the process can begin.
That’s where the traffic stands.
Several western states have passed legislation similar to Utah’s, according to a list released Wednesday by KING-TV in Seattle showing where all states stand on the issue. Those:
- Idaho (northern half, but not southern – northern half Pacific time)
- Oregon (except Malheur County, which is on Mountain Time)
The station adds that California, Nevada and New Mexico have supported the idea but have not passed legislation on the matter. Arizona, the other state mentioned in Utah’s law, does not observe daylight saving time in the first place, except in areas of the Navajo state.
Of course, ultimately Congress must finalize the changes. Last year, the US Senate did pass a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent, but it didn’t make it to the President’s desk in time for the House of Representatives.
In November, Reuters reported that the proposed legislation ran into trouble in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where different regions of the US, not political parties, were divided on the issue, according to Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.
“There are many opinions about whether to keep the status quo, go to permanent time, and if so, what time it should be,” he told the publication.
Several federal lawmakers aren’t deterred. Earlier this month, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators revived the Sunlight Protection Act, and a follow-up bill was introduced in the House.
By law, everyone will be on daylight saving time year-round. It also stipulates that Arizona, Hawaii and several US territories also comply.
“This ritual of changing time twice a year is nonsense. Ending the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and public support,” Rubio said in a March 2 statement. “I hope we can finally do it.”
However, you’ll have to keep winding down the clock until Congress reaches a consensus on the matter.
How to stay safe on the roads with a timer
One reason for the push is current data showing health and safety changes every time Americans turn back the clock. Zero Fatalities, a joint venture between the Utah Department of Public Safety and the Utah Department of Transportation, notes that there are risks on the road because there is less light in the morning and more sleepiness as a result of changes in the human sleep cycle.
The app gives some advice to people while traveling:
- Make sure you are awake and alert before driving, walking or cycling. Pull over in a safe place and take a nap if you feel drowsy while driving.
- Drivers must watch out for cyclists, pedestrians or motorcyclists. Slow down in neighborhoods, near schools, and around intersections.
- Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists must also “do everything in their power to be seen by drivers”. Reflective equipment and lights are recommended.
- Pedestrians must use road safety equipment, obey traffic rules and look drivers in the eye.
- All road users must be sober and avoid distractions, focusing primarily on driving, walking or cycling.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is also urging drivers to be aware of deer while driving due to the time change.
Faith Heaton Jolly, spokeswoman for the department, said it’s usually more of a problem when daylight savings time ends each November because that’s during peak deer migration season; however, due to deep snowpack pushing deer into the valleys this winter, there are more deer in the valleys than usual.
“Many of them have migrated lower and are near roads or crossing roads in valleys,” she said. “Even though it’s not the peak of collisions, we’re still seeing them now because there are so many deer in the valleys from the snow.”
Daylight saving time will be in effect until 2 a.m. on Nov. 5, when you’ll need to change your clocks again.