Study explores the link between teen car accidents and early school time

Many parents in Polk County enjoy sending off their child to school early in the morning after their child has their license because they no longer have to deal with driving them to school. However, when a teen between the ages of 16-19 gets behind the wheel, they are three times more likely to get in an accident as compared with a driver that is 20 years or older, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The connection between school start times and teen driving

There are a variety of reasons why teens are more susceptible to accidents than other drivers on the road. Factors such as distractions, speeding, driving at night, lack of experience and not wearing their seat belt all contribute to why teens are prone to getting into or causing car accidents.

In addition to these causation factors, a recent study researched the link between lack of sleep caused by early school start times and how this may be contributing to teenage car accidents. The study compared the number of accidents between two cities in Virginia, one which had early school start times and one where schools started later, states Discovery News. In the city where school started at 7:20 a.m. compared with the school that started at 8:40 a.m., crash rates were 40 percent higher among teenagers than the school that started later.

There are a variety of reasons why teens may be not getting enough sleep in addition to early school start times. These include sleep restrictions, or the lack of time allotted for enough sleep, sleep disorders such as insomnia or restless legs syndrome or trying to sleep in an environment that does is not conducive to proper sleep.

Why sleep is so important

Many teens underestimate the value of getting enough sleep every night. In addition to being more prone to car accidents, lack of sleep among teenagers causes:

  • *Limited ability to learn, listen to others, solve problems and concentrate at school.
  • *Greater susceptibility to skin problems like acne and pimples.
  • *Irritable behavior that may threaten relationships with friends, teachers and family.
  • *A weakened immune system and illness.
  • *Eating too much or eating junk food, sweets or other foods lacking in nutrition.

Although it may be difficult with a busy schedule of school, extra-curricular activities and a social life, teens should make getting the National Sleep Foundation's recommended 9.25 hours of sleep every night a priority to reduce their chances of accident and threat of harming others on the road.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a teenage driver, contact an attorney that specializes in personal injury to find out what your rights are towards proper compensation.