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School start times may influence teen crash rates

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2020 | Car Accidents

You were injured at the hands of a distracted driver in Pennsylvania, and it turns out that the driver was a teenager. Teens are prone to be distracted, but smartphones are not the only reason: The time when school starts each day can have an impact on teens’ safety.

Earlier school start, higher crash rate

A study published by the Journal of Clinical Medicine considered a two-year period in Fairfax County, Virginia, during which the county changed its school start times from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. In the year before that change, there were 31.63 crashes per 1,000 licensed drivers aged 16 to 18. In the year after, the rate declined to 29.59.

This suggests that later school start times prevent teen drivers from being negligent and getting in crashes. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has made the connection, too, and recommends that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

Teens need lots of sleep

According to the AASM, teens aged 13 to 18 need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep. Teens tend to sleep late into the day because of circadian rhythm changes. If schools accommodate this change, they may help improve not only teens’ road safety but also their mental well-being and academic performance.

Injury victims may need a lawyer

Of course, teens, just as much as adults, have a responsibility to keep their vehicle under control. If drowsiness or distraction causes a car collision, then victims can seek compensation. You may want to see a lawyer in your effort to seek the maximum amount in compensation for your medical care.