Researcher Suggests Later School Start Times May Cut Teen Car Crashes

At a recent professional meeting, a researcher, Dr. Robert D. Vorona of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, suggested to his colleagues that delaying high school opening times by an hour — giving kids more time to sleep — could help reduce the number of car accidents involving teenagers. 

As proof, Dr. Vorona cited one city in Virginia where after high schools began opening at 8:40 a.m., the crash rate for 16- to 18-year-olds was 19.2% lower than in an adjacent town where the opening time was 7:20 a.m.

Dr. Vorona added that he and many of his colleagues now believe that teenagers require nine-plus hours of sleep each night, and the consequences of insufficient sleep include excessive daytime sleepiness, mood disorders, and even potential suicidal ideation.

Read more on MedPage Today.

The message for parents of teenagers who are now driving – make sure they get enough sleep – or don't give them the keys to the car.