Friday, April 29, 2005

No More "Indiana Time"

Those of us who travel through Indiana know about their wacky refusal to acknowledge daylight-saving time (DST). While I can understand Arizona's argument that they already have enough daylight in the desert, Indiana's situation is more complex:
Seventy-seven counties in the Eastern time zone portion of Indiana remain on standard time year round, while five in southeastern Indiana ignore state and federal law and change their clocks. Five counties each in the northwest and southwest pockets of the state are in the Central zone and observe daylight time.
Needless to say, this can be a bit confusing. When driving through Indiana it is wise to eat dinner early because you can't be sure when closing time is. And if you make an appointment with someone, you have to ask what time it is there so you can synchronize your watch. The Indiana House finally voted yesterday to start following DST statewide next year. While House Speaker Brian Bosma may have been going overboard to describe the vote as "heroic," he was right about this: "I can tell you that the rest of the nation, the rest of the world, knows that Indiana doesn't get it."

For any Hoosiers who haven't been paying attention, let me spell it out: in Illinois we make fun of your goofy, seemingly backward clock habits. Sorry, but it's true. About ten years ago I worked with a guy from Indiana. He would often show up at the wrong time for meetings or lunch. Instead of accepting this as a personal trait, we joked that he was "on Indiana time" (though he wasn't necessarily off by a whole hour or two).

The bill also requires petitioning the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine whether to include more Indiana counties in the Central time zone (as shown incorrectly on this map). That makes sense to me; it is odd that all of Alabama is on Central time while most of Indiana is not. In fact, Indiana was in the Central time zone until 1969 (here's the whole history).

The shocking thing about this bill is that a lot of constituents opposed it, and it only passed the House with the minimum of 51 votes. Rep. William Crawford groused, "This is not the second coming that is going to take Indiana into a brighter future." No, but at least we won't look at our watches, shake our heads, and make fun of you anymore. Now if only you could legislate away Dan Quayle...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Time zones are crazy. I used to live around Iron Mountain, MI, which was on the edge of the eastern/central time zone boundary. Same thing: people had to ask what time zone when setting up meetings. Looking at the map, it's crazy that the western half of Michigan's Upper Peninsula is on the same time zone as Boston, but is further west than any part of Indiana.