Later School Start Time = Fewer Car Accidents?

A new study indicates that starting school a little later could reduce the number of car crashes involving teenagers.  The study, presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Societies and reported on in HealthDay, was conducted by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va.  Researchers looked at crash rates in two nearby cities that had different school starting times.  In the city of Virginia Beach, school started at 7:20 a.m.; in the city of Chesapeake, it began at 8:40 a.m.

Chesapeake had 46.2 crashes for every 1,000 teen drivers, compared to 65.4 per 1,000 teen drivers in Virginia Beach — a 41 percent difference.

“Teenagers need over nine hours sleep a night, and it looks like a large number of teens don’t get sufficient sleep… part of that relates to the time that high schools begin,” said study author Dr. Robert Vorona, an associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School

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