Teens already face higher risks of an accident because of their overconfidence in skills, tendency towards distracted driving, and lack of experience on the road. Lack of sleep, however, a crucial component of teen development, could lead to even greater problems.

According to recent research, only 40% of teenagers get the appropriate 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night that is recommended by pediatricians and sleep scientists. Some of the major reasons that teens don’t get enough sleep have to do with screen time, too much homework, hormones, and their busy social life.

However, a new group of advocates is targeting school start times as extremely dangerous and arguing that schools should not start any earlier than 8:30 am to be consistent with recommendations established by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The average start time for middle and high schools across California, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 8:07 am. School start times could be pushed later to give teens more of a chance to sleep and feel refreshed. While this would most likely affect teens who drive to school more than those who take the bus or get dropped off, the potential ripple effect of pushing back school start times could decrease the number of teen-related accidents in San Diego and around California. 

This small change would only delay the beginning of the school day by just over 20 minutes, but it could have big implications. CDC did assure that in 2015, more than 2,000 teens in the United States between the ages of 16 and 19 died in motor vehicle accidents and up to 20% of crash fatalities were linked to driver drowsiness, fatigue, or sleepiness. Inadequate teen sleep can have negative repercussions for everybody?

If you or someone you know has already been involved in a serious accident with a teen driver, perhaps because the teen driver did not get enough sleep, you need to consult with an injury attorney about your rights.