A recent study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicates that starting school later in the day lowers the risk of car accidents involving teenage drivers. Implementing a policy of later school start times may reduce the number of crashes in Florida, based on the study’s findings. The study, which involved two years of data, showed that the crash rate among ages 16 and 18 fell from 31.63 per 1,000 drivers to 29.59 per 1,000 drivers when school start times were delayed until later in the day.

According to a senior author of the study, accidental injuries including car accidents are the No. 1 cause of adolescent deaths nationwide. She added that later school start times allow teen drivers to sleep more, leading to benefits for them and the people around them. The study compared accident rates for teen drivers when school started at 7:20 am with rates when school started at 8:10 am, 50 minutes later. The senior author said teen drivers who have slept more are less likely to make bad decisions like not wearing their seatbelts.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has said it supports a start time of 8:30 a.m. for middle school and high school students. The AASM recommends eight to 10 hours of sleep each night for people between the ages of 13 and 18.

Someone who has been injured in a Florida motor vehicle accident might be entitled to monetary compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney who practices personal injury law could help in such cases by gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Legal counsel may use the evidence when negotiating with at-fault parties to reach an out-of-court settlement. In cases that are not settled, an attorney might draft and file a complaint for relief in civil court.