According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), teenagers should not start their school day before 8:30 a.m. Research has suggested that teen drivers are more awake and less likely to get into an accident when the school day starts later in the morning.

Teen accident rates dropped in Fairfax County

In 2015, Fairfax County pushed the start of the school day from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Researchers said that the number of accidents involving drivers aged 16 to 18 dropped to 29.59 accidents per 1,000. The accident rate remained nearly the same in the rest of the state where the status quo remained. By allowing teenagers to wake up later in the morning, they were less likely to make poor decisions while behind the wheel.

Teenagers have different sleep schedules

According to the AASM, teenagers experience shifts in their circadian rhythm, and the shift causes teens to naturally fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the day. By forcing teenagers to wake up too early, school administrators may be putting their physical and mental health in jeopardy. Representatives from the AASM say that those between the ages of 13 to 18 need up to 10 hours of sleep per night. Furthermore, sleeping at the right time each night helps to maximize the benefits that come with getting adequate rest.

There are other benefits to later start times as well

In addition to reducing the likelihood of teen drivers getting into car accidents, starting school later in the day can improve classroom performance. It can also minimize the chances that a student comes to school late or does not arrive at school at all.

If you are hurt in an accident caused by a drowsy or otherwise distracted driver, it may be a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney may be able to help you obtain a financial award to help pay for medical bills or other damages incurred.