Later School Times Could Reduce Teen Car Crashes
A recent study accepted by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that later school start times are associated with a significant drop in vehicle crashes involving teen drivers. According to the research, the crash rate in 16-to-18-year-old licensed drivers decreased significantly from 31.53 to 29.59 crashes per 1,000 drivers after a delayed school start time was implemented. This study was conducted in Fairfax County, Virginia, where in the fall of 2015, school start times were pushed back by 50 minutes from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. During that time, the teen crash rate remained the same throughout the rest of the state, where the start time was not delayed.
The Research on Teen Drivers and Adequate Sleep Schedules
Not only are teen drivers drowsy earlier in the morning, they’re also at risk for engaging in more distracted behaviors behind the wheel. The research found that the later start time was also associated with a lower rate of distraction-related crashes. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or later promotes teen health, safety and academic performance. This recommendation is based on the scientific evidence that teenagers have a biological sleep drive and circadian rhythm that results in later sleep and wake times.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s Recommendations
Safety advocates are hoping that the information and data in this study will result in later start times in more school districts across the nation. In addition to improving roadway safety for teens and other motorists they share the road with, there are other benefits to later school start times too. Optimal sleep time for teens could even have an impact on reducing sports-related injuries.
Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers in San Diego
Drowsy driving is one of the main risk factors associated with fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Delayed school start times could be an important part of improving teen driver safety and reducing the number of injury-causing and potentially fatal crashes on roadways in California and throughout the nation.
If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident involving a teen driver in San Diego or anywhere along the Central Coast, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.