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Study: teens may drive safer when school starts later

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2020 | Car Accidents

Distracted and drowsy driving are problems in Florida and throughout the United States, especially among teenage drivers. However, there are ways to minimize the risk for crashes involving teens, and one of them, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, is to push back the time when school starts.

The study focused on the effect that a school time change had in Fairfax County, Virginia. Back in the autumn of 2015, the county chose to push back the time from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Analyzing car crashes that involved teens and that occurred in the year prior to and subsequent to the change, researchers found a decrease in the crash rate: specifically, from 31.6 crashes per 1,000 licensed drivers aged 16 to 18 to 29.6 accidents.

There was no comparable decline in teen car crash rates throughout the rest of Virginia, which had not changed its school start times during that period. Researchers found that teens, by getting more sleep, are less likely to engage in unsafe behaviors like distracted driving.

The researchers’ conclusions are supported by data from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The AASM says that later school start times can improve not only teens’ safety on the road but also their classroom performance and mental health. Later start times can also reduce tardiness and absences.

When car accidents arise because one of the drivers was on the phone or distracted in some other way, then those on the other side may be able to pursue a claim. With Florida being a no-fault state, there are restrictions on who can file a third-party insurance claim. To see what their options are, victims may consult a lawyer. A lawyer may handle all negotiations so that a fair amount in damages might be agreed upon.