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Teen car crash rates may decline with later school start times

| Feb 28, 2020 | Car Accidents |

You were injured in a car crash on your way to work, and you discover that the other driver was distracted. If the driver was a teen, then it would make sense in light of some recent findings linking unsafe teen driving with early school start times. Schools across Kentucky may benefit from later start times. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, they reduce tardiness and absences, make teens more alert and improve road safety.

Teen crash rates down in Fairfax County

A study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine focused on the effect that later school start times had on teen car crash rates in Fairfax County, Virginia. During autumn in 2015, the county pushed the start time back from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. In the year preceding the change, 31.63 accidents involving licensed teen drivers 16 to 18 years of age occurred per 1,000 drivers. In the year following the change, the rate decreased to 29.59.

In comparison, the rest of the state did not see a comparable change in teen car crash rates. No other county in Virginia altered its school start times in that two-year period.

Teens need adequate sleep

The recommendation from the AASM is that teens who are 13 to 18 years old should get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep. Changes in their circadian rhythms lead teens to sleep longer and later, and early school start times disrupt that rhythm.

Accident victims may need a lawyer

Still, schools can only do so much. The choice is up to teens themselves whether they are willing to drive negligently. As the victim of another party’s negligence, you can pursue a personal injury case and seek to be reimbursed for medical bills and all the future income lost due to your injuries. A lawyer may help strengthen the case.

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