According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, later school start times have been found to reduce the number of teen car crashes.
The study, which analyzed the crash rates of 16-18-year-old drivers in Fairfax County, Virginia, over the course of two years, looked at the changes in accidents per 1,000 drivers before and after the school start time was pushed back by 50 minutes.
A Reduction in Accidental Injuries
The analysis revealed that the delay of the school start time reduced the number of accidents from 31.63 to 29.59 accidents per 1,000 drivers. With the number one cause of deaths of adolescents in the U.S. stemming from accidental injuries, including those occurring from motor vehicle crashes, finding a way to decrease such crashes can be significant.
The data compiled was compared to vehicle crash rates of teen crashes across the rest of Virginia, where the school start time did not change. The study found that part of the cause could be contributed to a lower rate of distraction-related accidents since teens that get more sleep are less likely to engage in distracted driving.
The Internal Circadian Rhythms of Teenagers
Due to the internal circadian rhythms of teenagers, which causes them to sleep and wake at later times, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is a proponent of middle- and high-school students having a school start time of 8:30 a.m or later. The benefits associated with delaying the start time of school include:
- Improved teenage driving
- Increased alertness
- Better classroom performance
- Increased likelihood of being well-rested
- Better mental and psychological health
- Fewer absences and tardiness
Not only does the AASM recommend that teenagers get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day, but the organization also believes that quality of sleep may be equally – if not more – important than the duration of their slumber. It is counter-productive for anyone to be forced to function at a time when their internal clock is telling them that they should remain asleep.
Senior study author, Dr. Judith Owens, MPH, hopes that this study will encourage other school districts to explore the many ways in which later school start times could protect and benefit students.
The Attorneys at Carter Mario Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced Connecticut Car Accident Lawyer at your side. Let Carter Mario Law Firm protect your rights—and fight to secure full, fair compensation for your losses. Just call (203) 806-9256 today. You can also submit a FREE Initial Consultation Form online.