Car accidents involving teen drivers could be reduced in Tennessee and elsewhere by implementing later school start times, according to a new study. The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
To reach their conclusions, researchers analyzed crash data involving teen drivers in Fairfax County, Virginia, over two separate school years. During the first year, classes started at 7:20 a.m. During the second year, school began at 8:10 a.m. Researchers found that the crash rate for licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 dropped from 31.63 crashes per 1,000 drivers to 29.59 per 1,000 drivers over the study period. In comparison, the crash rate remained steady for teen drivers in other areas of the state that maintained earlier school start times.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also supports starting classes later for middle school and high school students. According to the organization, teenagers require 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night to function properly, and early classes force them to wake up before their bodies are ready. The organization believes that later school start times will increase the chances of teens getting enough sleep, help students stay alert during classes, reduce tardiness and absences and reduce car wrecks involving adolescents.
Teen drivers who cause car accidents could be held accountable in civil court. With the help of an attorney, injured victims might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and obtain compensation for their losses. Damages paid out in a car wreck lawsuit might include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, property loss and more. Victims may have their case assessed by contacting a law firm that handles car accident claims.