In recent years, school districts in Arizona and around the country have been reevaluating their start times. Increasingly, research shows that teenagers are not at their most alert in the mornings. They may not be learning anything in those early morning periods. In addition, they’re at risk just getting to school. The data shows that teens who have to be at school earlier are more likely to be involved in car crashes.
By the numbers
One example of the difference a later school start time can make comes from the state of Virginia. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that drowsy driving was a big factor in teen accidents. It was more problematic in a county with a school start time of 7:20 a.m. than in a county with a start time of 8:45 a.m. The rate was significantly higher in the earlier start time county at 10 more accidents per 1,000 people.
Drowsy drivers are usually young
Drowsy driving is much more likely to impact young people aged 16 to 24. Medical experts and activists recommend that teens and young people get at least nine hours of sleep every day. However, in an increasingly competitive and distracted world, this is less and less common.
Young people are often up late on their electronic devices or doing work for school. This impacts the amount of rest they get and how alert they are on the road. Studies like the one based in Virginia have demonstrated that this is a factor in car accidents. School boards arguably bear some responsibility for these circumstances by setting early start times.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowsy driving car accident, it’s important to contact an attorney. A lawyer may help you understand if you have a viable case. They may also help you figure out who to pursue for damages, whether that’s the driver, manufacturer or school authority in the area.