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Time Zones and DST in Indiana

The US state of Indiana has two time zones: Central Time and Eastern Time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been used since 2006.

Skyline of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Indianapolis is the capital of Indiana.


DST in Indiana

All of Indiana sets the clocks forward 1 hour for DST in spring, and then set the clocks back again in the fall.

Time Zones in Indiana

Most of the state uses Eastern Time, using Eastern Standard Time (EST) during the winter months and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) in the summer months when DST is in force.

Some counties near the southwestern and northwestern border of the state use Central Time, changing between Central Standard Time (CST) and Central Daylight Time (CDT).

DST Confusion Stopped in 2006

Before 2006, most of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time. However, some counties decided to use DST, creating confusion about what time it was around spring and fall.

To avoid the confusion, Indiana passed a bill in 2005 ensuring that the entire state would use DST from April 2006, regardless of the time zone.

DST Debate

As in other parts of the of the US, Daylight Saving Time remains a controversial measure. Farmers in rural Indiana oppose DST because their days follow sunrise and sunset instead of the clock. The claim is that they lose 1 hour of sunlight in the morning that could have been used to work.

Energy saving is another argument to keep DST, however, research from the University of California showed that DST costs Indiana households about $8.6 million in electricity bills each year. The study also estimates the social costs of increased pollution emissions that ranged from $1.6 to $5.3 million per year. It claims that the savings on electricity for lighting is offset by higher air conditioning costs in hot afternoons and increased heating costs in cool mornings.

Time Zone Discussions

Time in Indiana has been debated since the Standard Time Act put the state on Central Time in 1918. In 1961, the Interstate Commerce Commission divided the state into Eastern and Central Time, but the new time zone line was not consistently observed. Through the 1960s and 1970s, the counties varied their time zones. A few counties even switched time zones from the late 1970s onwards.

On January 18, 2006, the United States Department of Transportation announced a final rule that would allow 8 of 17 Indiana counties to move to Central Time. Starke, Pulaski, Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, Perry, and Pike, moved to Central Time on April 2, 2006, as DST started. Already in November 2007, 5 counties including Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, and Pike, returned to Eastern Time.

Central Time Coalition

Today, 80 of Indiana's 92 counties use Eastern Time. The Central Time Coalition, however, believes that the state should be on Central Time. The group was formed in 2009, and it argues that Indiana is geographically located in the Central Time Zone, which is factually correct.

As a result of the time change, dark mornings have caused an increase in car accidents after Eastern Time was adopted. The group also argues that the teen suicide rate in Indiana is higher than average.

Topics: Time Zone, Daylight Saving Time