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Later School Start Times Tied to Decrease in Teen-Related Car Crashes

Have you ever tried to motivate a teenager to get out of bed at the break of dawn (or even before the sun was up)? For many teens, early school start times mean there is no choice but to rise, shine, and get on the road to school early in the morning. However, a new study has suggested that later start times for school may lead to fewer teen-related car accidents on the road.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, looked at the relation between later school start times and the number of teen-related car accidents. The results indicate that it may be a good idea to push school start times back a little bit.

Results of the Study: 50 Minutes Makes a Difference

The study examined data from Fairfax County, Virginia, where high school start times were pushed from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. (50 minutes). Researchers looked at data from the two years prior to the implementation of the later school start time and two years after. According to the results, the amount of accidents involving 16- to 18-year-olds dropped slightly from 31.63 to 29.59 crashes per 1,00 drivers after the start time for school was pushed back.

Throughout the rest of the state, where school start times remained the same, the accident rate among teenagers did not change.

The researchers determined that when teenagers did not get enough sleep, they were more likely to act negligently behind the wheel.

Common Causes of Teen Driver Accidents

Just like other drivers, there are many ways a teenager can act negligently behind the wheel. The main causes of teen accidents include:

  • Inexperience: When teenagers have fewer than two years of driving experience, they are more likely to cause an accident than people who have many more years of experience.
  • Distracted driving: Texting and driving is still a major problem among teens. Additionally, there are many other types of distractions including rowdy passengers, loud music, eating, and drinking that can lead to a crash.
  • Reckless driving: Teenagers tend to think that they are invincible and, as such, may act more reckless on the roads. Making illegal turns and lane changes, tailgating, and street racing are all behaviors teens are more likely to engage in than other drivers.

Although these behaviors are dangerous for all drivers, for teens who do not have the necessary experience to react to emergency or urgent situations, they can be fatal.

How Our Attorneys Can Help After an Accident

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash, do not hesitate to call our Illinois car accident lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. We have the necessary experience to hold insurance companies and at-fault parties accountable and demand the maximum compensation you deserve.

Contact us now to arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys and learn more about how we can help you.

Patrick A. Salvi

Patrick A. Salvi concentrates his legal practice in several limited areas primarily involving a trial practice in cases concerning serious personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and mass torts. Mr. Salvi has achieved record-breaking jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including serving as lead counsel in obtaining an Illinois record-high $148 million jury verdict and a Lake County record $33 million jury verdict.

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