Crash Rates May Be Higher for Teen Drivers Who Start School Earlier in the Morning

Are we about to witness the foundation of Mothers Against Early Classes? ScienceDaily reports:

A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows increased automobile crash rates among teen drivers who start school earlier in the morning.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall (CC)

Photo: Jeffrey Beall (CC)

Results indicate that in 2008 the weekday crash rate for 16- to 18-year-olds was about 41 percent higher in Virginia Beach, Va., where high school classes began at 7:20 — 7:25 a.m., than in adjacent Chesapeake, Va., where classes started at 8:40 — 8:45 a.m. There were 65.8 automobile crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers in Virginia Beach, and 46.6 crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers in Chesapeake. Similar results were found for 2007, when the weekday crash rate for Virginia Beach teens (71.2) was 28 percent higher than for Chesapeake teens (55.6). In a secondary analysis that evaluated only the traditional school months of September 2007 through June 2008, the weekday crash rate for teen drivers was 25 percent higher in Virginia Beach (80.0) than in Chesapeake (64.0). An investigation of traffic congestion in the neighboring cities did not reveal differences that might account for the teen crash findings.

“We were concerned that Virginia Beach teens might be sleep restricted due to their early rise times and that this could eventuate in an increased crash rate,” said lead author Robert Vorona, MD, associate professor of internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va. “The study supported our hypothesis, but it is important to note that this study does not prove cause and effect. We are planning to perform subsequent studies to follow up on these results and to investigate other potential ramifications of early high school start times.”

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the average teen needs a little more than nine hours of sleep each night. However, chronic sleep restriction is a common problem among teens. During adolescence, a biological change shifts the typical onset of sleepiness later at night. This delay can make it a challenge for teens to get enough sleep when they have to wake up early for school.

Vorona says that starting high school later in the morning may promote driver alertness by allowing teens to get more sleep at night.

Read more here.

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  • GoodDoktorBad

    You don’t need a scientific study to know that driving half-asleep is dangerous. People don’t immediatly adjust to earlier school/work hours, some never do. So, yeah no surprise here. I wonder how much time and money they wasted researching the obvious. One plus one equals two -always has -always will. Hmmmm, maybe not -lets do a study.

    • Andrew

      Your anger may be better redirected from the researchers to those who schedule schooling and work at such early times. Either the latter don’t think enough to realize “the obvious,” or they don’t care.

      • quartz99

        I would suggest the second option there is most likely.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t need a scientific study to know that driving half-asleep is dangerous. People don’t immediatly adjust to earlier school/work hours, some never do. So, yeah no surprise here. I wonder how much time and money they wasted researching the obvious. One plus one equals two -always has -always will. Hmmmm, maybe not -lets do a study.

  • Andrew

    Your anger may be better redirected from the researchers to those who schedule schooling and work at such early times. Either the latter don’t think enough to realize “the obvious,” or they don’t care.

  • Andrew

    Your anger may be better redirected from the researchers to those who schedule schooling and work at such early times. Either the latter don’t think enough to realize “the obvious,” or they don’t care.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    I’m not particularly angry at “the researchers” Andrew. Not particularly angry at all, and yes the blame should fall more to “those who schedule schooling and work at such early times”. Thanks for more of the obvious.
    But, as you say, they don’t care.

    I suggest you refrain from such assumptions about where I should direct my “anger”. I will direct it where I choose.

    • Andrew

      My apologies. I’m not sure how I made such a mistake. You don’t sound angry at all.

      • Bud Bundy

        I’m with the cat here.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not particularly angry at “the researchers” Andrew. Not particularly angry at all, and yes the blame should fall more to “those who schedule schooling and work at such early times”. Thanks for more of the obvious.
    But, as you say, they don’t care.

    I suggest you refrain from such assumptions about where I should direct my “anger”. I will direct it where I choose.

  • Andrew

    My apologies. I’m not sure how I made such a mistake. You don’t sound angry at all.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t before, now I am -Andrew. My bad. Does my sarcasm offend you -hypocrite?

    Go F— yourself.

  • Bud Bundy

    I’m with the cat here.

  • Bud Bundy

    Andrew… fuck yourself with a chain saw after you’ve murdered anyone who might carry whatever faulty genes you might infect the next generation with.

  • Anonymous

    I would suggest the second option there is most likely.

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