Friday, November 7, 2014

The Law of Daylight Saving Time

Photo of Steve  Calandrillo
Professor Calandrillo
As the warm embrace of daylight saving time fades from our memories, and we begin to eagerly anticipate the Winter Solstice on December 21, take a moment to consider whether the United States should adopt daylight saving time year-round. University of Washington Law School Professor Steve Calandrillo and his co-author Dustin Buehler proposed just that in Time Well Spent: An Economic Analysis of Daylight Saving Time Legislation, 43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 45 (2008). Professor Calandrillo and his co-author provided a history of daylight saving time, examined empirical data from 1974 when the United States experimented with year-round daylight saving time, and argued that a cost-benefit analysis indicated that the United States should adopt daylight saving time year-round. During the winter, year-round daylight saving time would cause there to be additional darkness in the morning but the sun would set later. The authors argued, and provided data to support the claims, that extra sunlight in the evening would reduce traffic fatalities, criminal activity, and electricity usage. is also in favor of year-round daylight saving time, and has an examination of areas of the world that have a local time that is ahead of solar time, that is, regions that effectively observe daylight saving time year-round.

The timing of an event can play an important role in litigation, and, in determining timing, daylight saving time can be the deciding factor. For example, in an attorney malpractice case, the client argued that his criminal attorney erred in failing to argue that a difference between Alaska Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time affected whether a newly enacted law was in force at the time of his crime. See Stewart v. Elliott, 239 P.3d 1236, 1243 (Alaska 2010). Although the client had successfully sought post-conviction relief due to the discrepancy between the timing of statute's applicability, the court in this case found that the client's attorney did not breach a duty of care in failing to raise that issue. Daylight saving time also played a role in Playboy Club, Inc. v. Myers, where the court held that Missouri's adoption of Daylight Saving Time in 1967 affected a Missouri law limiting the hours during which liquor could be sold and that as a result the plaintiffs could not base their closing time on Central Standard Time. Playboy Club, Inc. v. Myers, 431 S.W.2d 228, 233 (Mo. 1968). For more facts about Daylight Saving Time, visit's collection of incidents and anecdotes.
File:Portrait of Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet.jpg
Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet

If you are depressed by the fact that in Seattle the sun will set at 4:18 p.m. on December 16, know that on June 21, 2015, we will have nearly 16 hours of daylight and the sun will not set until 9:11 p.m. If June is too far off, perhaps a verse from Sir Henry Norman, quoted in Professor Calandrillo's article, will provide some comfort:

The very best way to lengthen the day

Is to steal a few hours from the night.

Image of Sir Henry Norman,via Wikimedia Commons at,_1st_Baronet.jpg

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