A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine demonstrated that by imposing later school start times, there was a significant decline in the number of vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. The study focused on Fairfax, County, Virginia, using the two school years before the school district implemented its delayed start extending to two years after it finished.

Disrupting the common statistics

The results of the data showed that the crash rate for the 16-to-18-year demographic of licensed drivers reduced from 31.63 accidents per 1,000 drivers to 29.59, a significant decrease. In comparison, the rest of the state showed no change in crash rates for that year. Here are some facts about teen vehicle accidents revealed by the study that you may not have known:

  • Accidental injuries (which included vehicle collisions) are the number one cause of death amongst adolescents in the United States
  • The lead researcher, Dr. Judith Owens, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and the director of sleep medicine for the Boston Children’s Hospital, states that when students receive more sleep, there are major safety implications as well as economic implications.
  • The analysis showed that the later school start time reduced the number of ‘distracted driving’ accidents.’

Considering the implications of this study

Given the considerable threat that vehicle accidents pose to our young drivers, such a significant reduction presents an excellent argument for broader implementation. Dr. Owens goes on to report the number of other benefits of allowing students to gain more sleep, such as better mental health stability, increased academic performance and improvements to school district learning opportunities. 

Working for your child’s future

A motor vehicle collision involving a teen driver, who may be more inexperienced at dealing with particular road and traffic conditions, can have catastrophic consequences. For those accidents that result in serious injury, you need a personal injury attorney to fight for the compensation your child needs to find the treatment and opportunities they need.