Uniform Time Act

From Academic Kids

In the United States, the Uniform Time Act (Title 15, U.S. Code, Section 260a) is a federal law, enacted in 1966, whose effect was to simplify the official pattern of where and when Daylight saving time (DST) is applied within the U.S. Previous to this law, each state worked out its own scheme for the dates of beginning and ending DST, and in some cases, which parts of the state should use it.

The law as originally written required states that observe DST to begin it at 02:00 on the last Sunday in April and to end it at 02:00 on the last Sunday in October. The law was later amended in 1986 to move the uniform start date for DST to the first Sunday in April.

The law does not require that all states observe DST. Individual states may exempt themselves from DST and observe standard time year-round by passing a state law, provided:

  • if the state lies entirely within a time zone, that the exemption apply statewide, or
  • if the state is divided by a time zone boundary, that the exemption apply statewide or to the entire part of the state on one side of the boundary.

While there are a few areas where de facto differences within states exist, the overall pattern is simple enough, and close enough to actual practice, that it is effective and efficient

  • for repeat travelers, and repeat users of long-distance telephone service, to learn the basic pattern, and
  • for those in areas where de facto exceptions apply to mention the fact to those likely to be affected by it.

The most notable de facto exceptions are:

  • Indiana has chosen not to use DST in the bulk of the state, which is on Eastern Standard Time year-round. It has also chosen to apply DST to the northwestern and southwestern corners of the state, which are in the Central time zone. Three counties near Louisville and two counties near Cincinnati unofficially observe DST, despite being in the Eastern zone. Strictly speaking, it is illegal for those counties to use DST. The practice is condoned, however, because of those counties' economic ties to the major cities over the state borders, which use DST.
  • Arizona has chosen not to use DST statewide. However, the various Indian nations within the state have the right to use DST, or not use it, as they see fit. The Navajo Nation has chosen to use DST throughout its territory, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. On the other hand, the Hopi Nation, whose territory is surrounded by that of the Navajo Nation, has chosen not to use DST.

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