Utah and Maryland Could Become Latest States to Move to Permanent Daylight Saving Time

Lawmakers in Utah and Maryland hope their states will be the latest to adopt measures that would see them observe Daylight Saving Time permanently.

Clocks in most of the United States are set to be moved forward one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, with Arizona and Hawaii being the only states to not observe daylight savings time. Utah passed a bill Wednesday that would see the state permanently "spring forward," while Maryland recently introduced a similar bill.

In order for the laws to take effect, changes to federal law would also need to be made. The law currently allows states to decline observing Daylight Saving Time but does not allow states to adopt it year-round.

Several national lawmakers including President Donald Trump have expressed support for the possibility of adopting Daylight Saving Time permanently.

There are other potential roadblocks to making the changes a reality. Although Utah's bill has passed in the state's legislature, Utah Governor Gary Herbert will need to sign it. Even then, the provision will not take effect unless at least four other western states pass similar laws.

So far only three other western states have agreed, with Nevada, Washington and Oregon having already adopted the measures. Washington's law will not take effect unless California makes the time change as well.

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee have passed similar legislation that they are also legally unable to enact. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill in 2019 that would allow states to adopt the measures, but federal lawmakers have yet to vote on it.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates how daylight savings is currently implemented across the U.S.

Daylight Savings Statista
How daylight savings is currently implemented across the U.S. Statista

Daylight Saving Time was first adopted widely during World War I as an energy saving measure. It was used again during World War II, before being brought back on a wider scale with the passage of the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

Advocates for using Daylight Saving Time permanently say that the change could reduce car crashes and other types of accidents by keeping it light outside for an additional hour, along other benefits including saving energy and reducing seasonal depression.

Medical experts also believe that shifting the time is less than ideal. Studies have shown that the risk for heart attacks and strokes are higher in the days after a time shift.

However, eliminating Daylight Saving Time is thought to be superior to adopting it permanently from a health perspective due to Permanent Standard Time more closely mirroring the natural time of the sun, which is beneficial for the body's circadian rhythm.

Public opinion seems to be in favor of getting rid of the biyearly clock shifts. A 2019 poll by The Associated Press found that 40 percent of Americans would prefer to drop Daylight Saving Time, while 31 percent wanted to make it permanent. Only 28 percent were happy with the current situation.

Alarm clock sunrise
Most Americans will lose an hour of sleep after Daylight Saving Time sets clocks forward one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Getty

This article was updated to include an infographic.