A new study suggests that teen drivers who start class earlier in the morning are involved in significantly more motor vehicle accidents than peers with a later high school start time. Results published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine show that the weekday crash rate for teen drivers during the 2009 to 2010 school year was about 29 percent higher in Chesterfield County, Va., where high school classes began at 7:20 a.m., than in adjacent Henrico County, Va., where classes started at 8:45 a.m. Similar results were found for the 2010 to 2011 school year.
Nationwide data show that the prevalence of drowsy driving crashes is highest among teen and young adult drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years. The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, which is led by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, urges all drivers to keep our roads safe by staying “Awake at the Wheel.” More details are available at www.projecthealthysleep.org.