School is back in session, and with that we’re seeing earlier mornings and later nights. While that’s great for studies, it’s not so great for roadway safety. We’re talking about teenage drivers and their risks for drowsy driving accidents.
Sleep deprivation is a common problem for teens. As a result, teens – and especially young men – have a high risk of drowsy driving.
Our Broward car accident lawyers understand that teens need more sleep than adults. Although it varies from person to person, most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep. Teens on the other hand need a little more than nine hours to feel fully replenished and ready to go the next day. And because our teens aren’t getting enough sleep at night, they’re seeing alarming risks for traffic collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each and every year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, more than 70,000 injuries and more than $12 billion in monetary losses, according to DrowsyDriving.org. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
Sure, you see your teen sleep in extra during the weekends, but the irregular sleep hours disrupt their internal body clock. When this happens, it can be even harder for them to sleep at night.
According to recent studies, more than half of all fall-asleep accidents involve drivers 25-years-old or younger. And about half of all teens sleep less than eight hours on school nights, which doesn’t allow enough time for sufficient rest.
Signs of Sleepiness:
-Having a difficult time focusing, keeping the eyes open or even keeping the head up.
-Yawning excessively or rubbing the eyes repeatedly.
-Wandering thoughts or daydreaming.
-A reduction in reaction time and poor judgment.
-Drifting from your lane of traffic, tailgating or missing turns, signs or exits.
-Feeling the need to turn up the radio or open the window to snap into awareness.
All of these symptoms are a sign that you’re at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel.
The best option may be to push back the start time of high schools nationwide. According to the Coloradoan, some high schools have adopted late starts around 8:30 a.m. to improve attendance and performance. But other districts say it’s too complicated to shift schedules because of logistics involving buses and after-school activities.
Still, teen drivers who reported having bad sleep or being sleepy while driving were twice as likely to have had a crash. Eighty of the 339 students had already crashed at least once. Fifteen percent of them considered sleepiness to have been the main cause of the crash. Fifty-six percent of students who had at least one previous crash reported driving while sleepy.
Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep for your teen, especially in regard to driving. Teenagers who sleep less than average are more likely to be tired during the day, depressed, and not focused on their schoolwork. Sleep loss also reduces their ability to process information, pay attention, and solve problems, all crucial to safe driving.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your case. Call us today at 1-888-751-7770.