You may just think this week marked an extra hour of evening sunshine and frustration over electronics, but it actually should contribute to fewer trick-or-treater injuries and less crime around this time every year.
Because of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, areas in the United States that use daylight savings will set their clocks back the first Sunday of November this year for the first time, as opposed to the old technique of the last Sunday in October — and always in time for Halloween.
Reducing crime and the number of children hit by cars while trick or treating were one of the reasons for the law, said David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight” and consultant to U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who sponsored the bill.
On Halloween evening the number of children pedestrian accidents is four times the average number the rest of the year, he said.
In fact, overall crime and traffic accidents should reduce as a result of the later sunset for a week, he said. The later sunset should help avoid nighttime accidents during rush hour, he said.
For adult Halloween fans, this year also marked the first in which those eager to dress up and party had to wait an extra 60 minutes.
“That’s when people think Halloween begins, around sundown,” said Alix Rosenthal, a member of the Citizens for Halloween group in San Francisco.
A downside of the change were transitional problems like electronic devices programmed to automatically set time back an hour on the last Sunday of October. Congress gave the country’s programmers two years to implement the changes, though, so only devices not linked up to a network, such as DVD players, should have issues, Prerau said.