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20% of Teen Car Accident Fatalities Linked to Poor Sleep

Car accidents are a leading cause of death among teenagers and about 20 percent of those deaths can be linked to someone not getting a good night’s rest. More than half of all accidents involving someone being tired behind the wheel involve young drivers aged 25 and younger.

st louis car wreck drowsy driver

In 2014, the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project launched the Awake at the Wheel campaign to educate young drivers about the risks associated with drowsy driving. It is a campaign that may have made a difference for someone like Ronnie Lynn Thompson, who died at age 16 after being killed in an accident when his friend fell asleep while driving.

No Drowsy Driving (NOD.D.)

Ronnie’s mother founded No Drowsy Driving (NOD.D.) to bring more awareness to the growing number of car accidents caused by young teenagers not getting enough sleep. This has been a huge problem for teenagers as studies have shown that teenagers who do not get proper sleep are at a higher risk of being involved in car accidents; possibly because of the increased drowsiness combined with the inexperience they have behind the steering wheel.

Sleep Recommendations For Teenagers

According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, only about 31 percent of children in high school are getting the recommended nine hours of sleep per night that is required for good health and alertness. The reason for this lack of good sleep is what some sleep experts call the adolescent phase delay – a natural shift in a teen’s circadian rhythm. Researchers have found that an optimal sleep schedule for a teenager is from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Changing School Schedules

Considering this sleep schedule, there is a push for schools to change the starting time for school. Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, the President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, reports that about 50 percent of the communities that have later school start times have seen teenage car accident rates decrease between 65 and 75 percent.

The proposal to change school start times has also been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics because of reasons beyond the car accidents. In a statement that was published in September 2014, parents and physicians were reminded that children who do not get enough sleep at night also develop mental problems (i.e. problems performing in the classroom) and physical problems in addition to the increased chances of being involved in a car accident.

Talk with a St. Louis Car Wreck Lawyer

If you have been injured by a negligent driver, consult a St. Louis car wreck lawyer to understand your legal rights. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.LC. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

Updated: April 8, 2023