Teen driving accidents may be linked to earlier school start times, according to a study that compared two Virginia counties.
The study follows previous findings from 2011, in which the authors found similar results in two other Virginia counties. Lead author Dr. Robert Daniel Vorona of the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk said “Our study results suggest that early high school start times are problematic for our teens’ ability to drive safely, but they cannot prove a causal relationship between early high school start times and increased teen crashes.”
Vorona and his coauthors wrote that the early start times may lead to sleep loss.
Using data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles the team compared the frequency of car accidents in Chesterfield County and Henrico County. In Chesterfield, high school classes start at 7:20 am, and Henrico classes start at 8:45 am.
Results showed that for every 1,000 licensed drivers between ages 16 and 18, Chesterfield had almost 49 crashes, compared to Henrico’s 38.