What the 1974 daylight savings time experiment could mean for 2022’s Sunshine Act

Shania Wilson March 16, 2022
What the 1974 daylight savings time experiment could mean for 2022’s Sunshine Act

The Senate has passed a bill, The Sunshine Protection Act, that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the United States… but haven’t we seen something similar before?

The US tried a similar concept 48 years ago when conducting the 1974 Daylight Savings Time experiment, but the bill was quickly reversed as public approval for the change dropped. 

We take a look at the 1974 experiment and break down exactly why it didn’t work out.

Here’s what you need to know.

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Credit: Aurélien Lemasson-Théobald Unsplash.

Senate passes 2022 Sunshine Protection Act

As reported by CNN, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act earlier this week.

If passed by the House and signed by President Joe Biden, Daylight Savings Time would become permanent across the United States.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, agreeing with the bill, explained: “You’ll see it’s an eclectic collection of members of the United States Senate in favor of what we’ve just done here in the Senate, and that’s to pass a bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent.

“Just this past weekend, we all went through that biannual ritual of changing the clock back and forth and the disruption that comes with it. And one has to ask themselves after a while why do we keep doing it?”

However, others aren’t so sure on the concept of the Sunshine Protection Act, and are casting their minds back to the 1974 Daylight Savings Time experiment…

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1974 Daylight Savings Time experiment explained

The 2022 Sunshine Protection Act is not a new concept by any means.

In 1974, nearing five decades ago, a law went into effect which put the US on daylight saving time for two years, USA Today reports.

President Nixon signed the bill amid the US energy crisis in 1973 but, by the latter months of 1974, Congress reversed course.

David Prerau, an expert and author on DST, told USA Today that the public initially believed it was a good idea. Much like in 2022, people in 1974 were hoping to avoid the confusion of changing the clocks.

However, things took a turn. “People didn’t like waking up in the mornings in the dark, or sending their children to school in dark,” Prerau explained.

According to the Times, public approval for the experiment dropped from 79% in December 1973 to 42% in February 1974.

The Washingtonian reports that the full Congress passed a bill that would restore standard time in October 1974. Energy savings, a House panel explained, “must be balanced against a majority of the public’s distaste for the observance of Daylight Saving Time.”

Russia also experimented with Daylight Savings Time

In 2011, Russia also tried experimenting with Daylight Savings Time but, much like the 1974 bill, course was reversed in just a short period of time.

The BBC reports that Russia’s Daylight Savings Time experiment resulted in stress and health issues, and mornings would remain dark for an extensive amount of time.

The idea was scrapped in 2014.

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Shania is a Magazine Journalism graduate from the University of Derby. Her main passion is rooted in print journalism, however, she also branches out towards social media and is also interested in public relations. Outside of writing, Shania enjoys using social media, reading, and drinking coffee.