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Teen drivers in Colorado and across the U.S. are more likely to engage in unsafe driving behaviors when they do not sleep long enough. It makes sense, then, that later school times can be linked to a lower rate of car crashes involving teen drivers. This was the connection that a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine made.

To come to their conclusion, researchers analyzed the car crashes that occurred in a two-year period in Fairfax County, Virginia, involving teen drivers. This two-year period included the year before the county changed its school start times and the year after. In the autumn of 2015, the county pushed back the school start times from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.

In the year before this change, the rate of car crashes involving licensed drivers aged 16 to 18 was 31.63 per 1,000 drivers. In the subsequent year, it went down to 29.59 per 1,000 drivers. As for the rest of Virginia, which did not change its school start times, the rate of teen car accidents remained steady both years.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advocates later start times for high schools. They say later start times promote teen safety as well as health and academic performance by raising alertness and reducing tardiness and absences.

Still, teens who drive sleepy or distracted choose to do so. Therefore, they can be held liable for any auto accidents they cause through that act of negligence. Victims, for their part, may want a lawyer to assist with the filing process. If victims themselves contributed to the crash, then whatever amount they might receive in damages will usually be proportionally lowered. A lawyer may strive for the maximum possible settlement out of court, litigating if it cannot be achieved.