Daylight Saving Time
New Hampshire is currently in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) zone until it switches to Eastern Daylight Time (EST) when clocks are moved forward in the spring, starting daylight saving time.
How daylight saving time works
According to the federal Uniform Time Act, states may exempt themselves from observing daylight saving time by passing a state law. However, if a state chooses to observe daylight saving time, it must begin and end on federally mandated dates.
In participating states, daylight saving time begins in the U.S. on the second Sunday in March, when clocks are moved an hour ahead at 2 a.m. local standard time. In the fall, daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November when clocks “fall back” an hour at 2 a.m.
Federal time zone rules
There are only two ways a state can move from one time zone to another – Congress may enact a statute changing the time zone or the Secretary of Transportation can issue a regulation to make changes. A submission to request a time zone change must be made by the highest political authority in the area requesting the change.
Under state government, this includes a request by the governor or the legislature.
Under local government, which could cover one or more counties or parts of a county, the request must come from the board of county commissioners or a similar body.
Proposals to eliminate daylight saving time in NH
In 2017, under the bill HB 209, it was proposed that New Hampshire adopt the Atlantic Standard Time (AST) zone, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time, if its neighboring state of Massachusetts followed suit. Currently, New Hampshire’s time coincides with AST while daylight saving time is being observed, from early March to early November.
Under the proposal, New Hampshire would have participated in AST all year. Clocks would no longer “spring forward” or “fall back” in the Granite State.
A Massachusetts commission endorsed moving to AST, but no legislative effort to change time zones in the Bay State has been made.
Other Northeastern states, including Connecticut, Maine, New York and Rhode Island, have considered changing time zones, or staying in the same time zone but ceasing to participate in daylight saving time. So far, none of those bills have passed.
States that do not participate in daylight saving time
Currently, daylight saving is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona.
“NH should stop participating in daylight saving time.”
- Daylight saving time is harmful to citizens’ health, because changes in sleep patterns upset a person’s natural circadian rhythm. When this happens on a large scale, negative impacts include an increase in car crashes, workplace injuries, and heart attack rates.
- Studies have shown that the sleep deprivation caused by the sudden time change of daylight savings time decreases workplace productivity in many industries.
- The time it takes to change clocks as well as confused time schedules equals enormous expenses. According to the Lost-Hour Economic Index, moving clocks forward has cost the U.S. economy a total of $434 million nationally.
- The energy saved through daylight saving time is roughly 0.5% for each day that daylight saving time is observed. This is not a sufficient savings to outweigh the negative impacts on citizens’ health and productivity. There are safer and more efficient ways to conserve energy.
“NH should continue to participate in daylight saving time.”
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, daylight saving time results in a decrease in energy use. Particularly with New Hampshire’s high energy costs, every kilowatt saved makes a difference.
- Daylight saving time makes commuting safer, as more travel takes place during daylight hours. This is indicated in the increase in accidents when daylight saving time ends, and the clocks fall back. Though this gives commuters an extra hour to sleep, the switch to more driving in the dark leads to an increase in collisions with pedestrians.
- Businesses related to outdoor activities report a boost in performance after daylight saving time takes effect. This shows that daylight saving time gets more people outside.
- Daylight saving time stimulates the economy, as shopping and errands are mostly done during the day and the time change extends daylight hours. This is why many industry groups, including big-box stores and shopping malls, successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress to extend daylight saving time.
- Crime data shows a spike in some violent crime after daylight saving time ends, and a decrease when it begins. This indicates that extending daylight hours helps reduce crime, which generally takes place after dark.