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Should schools start later to combat crashes caused by teens?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2020 | personal injury |

School has resumed for children in northern Anne Arundel County. While younger children may be driven to school by their parents, commuters on their way to work in the Severna Park area may encounter more teen drivers on their way to school. One study suggests that the start time of school could impact the number of car crashes caused by teen drivers.

Is a later start time safer for teen drivers?

According to one study, later school start times leads to a reduction in motor vehicle accidents caused by teen drivers. Published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the study examined car accident rates among adolescents in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the fall of 2015 in which the school start time was pushed back to 8:10 a.m. from the previous start time of 7:20 a.m. as well as earlier school start times elsewhere in the state. The study found that the accident rate for drivers age 16 to 18 went down significantly when school started later in contrast to schools studied with earlier start times.

Why are later start times safer for teen drivers?

One reason for the deduction may simply be that when schools start later, teens get more sleep, and thus are more alert when they drive. In addition, teens who get an adequate amount of sleep are more likely to make smart decisions such as wearing a seat belt and avoiding distractions. In addition, a teenager’s’ natural circadian rhythm and biological sleep drive generally leads a teen to go to sleep later and thus sleep in later in the morning.

Teen drivers can still cause car accidents

While a later school start time may help teens drive more responsibly, the fact remains that teens are less experienced drivers than adult motorists, and they may not be able to exercise the same judgement while behind the wheel. This could lead to car crashes caused by teen drivers. All drivers, even teen drivers, have a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances. If this legal duty is breached — for example, in a car crash — and this breach causes another person to suffer injuries, the injured victim may be able to pursue compensation. Personal injury attorneys in northern Anne Arundel County may be a useful resource for those who are interested in learning more about these types of claims.


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