Teen Sleep Deprivation and Car Accidents

We’ve discussed previously in this blog how a new driver behind the wheel can create a lethal weapon. Minors have less driving experience, and inexperience (and often lack of maturity and good judgment) means less ability to control a car in an emergency. Drinking and texting are usually key factors in a car wreck, and parents must continue to educate their children about the importance of safe driving habits. But a new study out of Virginia suggests that there may be a cause-and-effect relationship between driving accidents involving high schoolers and lack of sleep.

Researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School found that Virginia Beach had a 41 percent higher teen auto accident rate than neighboring Chesapeake. In Virginia Beach, high school classes start at 7:25 a.m. while students in Chesapeake begin at 8:40 a.m.

Dr. Robert Vorona, the study author, suggests that school systems in general consider a later start time for students who virtually always tend to stay up later than they should. “We think the Virginia Beach students may be sleep-deprived,” he said, “and that is perhaps the reason for the increased crashes. It’s difficult for teens to get adequate amounts of sleep. Anything we can do to optimize things for them is a good thing.”

Virginia Beach officials want to look more closely at all the data before even considering making a time change. Vorona himself conceded that the statistics don’t prove a direct relationship between school starting times and roadway safety.

Leaving aside the age of the offender, if you or a loved one have been seriously hurt in a traffic accident on Indiana roads owing to the actions of a reckless or negligent driver, please contact the Indiana personal injury lawyers at Young and Young to obtain full information about your legal rights to recover money damages in civil court.

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