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Sleep can save teen drivers from being involved in accidents

Every day, teenagers all across the country get up early and drive themselves to school. Most of them make it there with no issues, but there are several in Georgia and elsewhere who do not. Morning car accidents involving teens on their way to school happen all too often. Why is that?

Car accidents happen for a number of reasons. However, a study out of Boston Children's Hospital claims one thing is primarily responsible for morning collisions involving teenagers -- lack of sleep. Teenagers are not getting as much sleep as they need, and that is affecting their judgment and reaction time.

How big is the problem?

More adolescents die in car accidents than by any other means. This is a big problem -- one that deserves attention. What do researchers think schools should do to reduce teen-involved auto collisions? Change school start times.

Why would changing school start times help?

According to the hospital study, which looked at accidents in an area of the country that adjusted school start times, researchers noticed a significant decrease in teen-involved accidents after instituting an hour-later start time. This study compared data from two years prior and two years after the change.

How much sleep do teenagers need? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that teenagers need eight to 10 hours of sleep every night in order to function well during the day. Due to school, work, sports and social activities, today's teens are getting far less than that. They may think it does not affect them, but researchers say the lack of sleep:

  • Causes more teenagers to make bad decisions when behind the wheel
  • Reduces reaction time
  • Causes teens to be more distracted while driving
  • Increases cell phone use while driving

While many teenagers may believe that they are fine running on little sleep, the data is clear; sleep is not worth sacrificing. Doing so puts lives in danger.

When teens cause accidents

When teenagers cause accidents due to a lack of sleep, they or their parents may be responsible for any victims' losses. If you have suffered injuries in a wreck with a teenager or if you lost a loved one in such an event, you may seek compensation for your losses through legal means. You can often settle personal injury and wrongful death claims through out-of-court negotiations, but sometimes, litigation may prove necessary to achieve maximum relief.

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