Earlier School Start Times Increase Chances of Teen Car Accidents, Study Says



From an increased risk of obesity to trouble concentrating, there are a variety of reasons that teens need a good night’s sleep. This is exactly why some schools are pushing back their start times — a topic Choices has covered in the past with a feature on Jilly Dos Santos (a teen who successfully convinced her school to start later). In case you need further proof that this is a smart move, a new study shows that schools with earlier start times have higher rates of teen motor vehicle accidents.

The study’s principal investigator and lead author, Dr. Robert Vorona, explains:

There are more and more data suggesting that insufficient sleep is common in our teens and that early high school start times are a contributor to teens’ reduced sleep. Insufficient sleep appears to have deleterious consequences such as decrements in mood and increased risk taking, impaired academics and increased crash rates.

Tying into this info, a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving is responsible for more than one-in-five fatal car crashes. For more about the importance of teens and sleep, check out these past stories from Choices and TeenBeing:

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To learn more about Choices — a health, well-being, and life skills magazine for teens, click here! Each month’s issue features stories to help improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of middle and high school students.

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