Teenage drivers in New Jersey and across the United States are at an increased risk of being involved in car accidents. Getting more sleep during the week may change those statistics. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine determined that later school start times were linked with reduced car crashes.

Statistics support latter start times at school

Researchers looked at teenage drivers in Fairfax, Va., who had their school time pushed back from 7:20 to 8:10 a.m. They then compared crash statistics with the rest of the state that kept the same early start time. Car accidents in 16- to 18-year-old drivers decreased significantly for those with the later start time — from 31.63 accidents per 1,000 drivers to 29.59. The crash rate for those in other areas remained the same.

Lack of sleep can lead to many health risks

Teenagers often are involved with homework, after-school jobs, athletics and hobbies that can lead to them not getting enough sleep. Reduced sleep might lead to poor decisions in teenage drivers such as becoming distracted or not wearing a seat belt. Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death in adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools delay start times to 8:30 a.m. to help adolescents get an increased amount of sleep. This may decrease accidents in the future.

Teen drivers are involved in more crashes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated that teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than drivers who are older than 20. Accidents caused by teens may result in severe injuries or death. If you’ve been injured by a distracted teen driver, you may be entitled to medical and compensatory damages. A personal injury lawyer could potentially show that a teen driver behaved negligently while distracted with their cell phone. They then might be able to file a civil suit on your behalf to help you receive monetary compensation.