Driving Accidents

A new study to be presented at CHEST Congress 2019 Thailand in Bangkok shows a significant decrease in teen driving accidents when school start is delayed. Researchers from Farwaniya Hospital in Kuwait and Boston Children’s Hospital study the impact of a 50-minute delay in high school start times in one of the largest school districts in the U.S. Consider the following statistics from the CDC and discuss them with your teen before they or they gets behind the wheel of a car.

Motor vehicle crashes

The largest proportion of adolescent injuries are due to motor vehicle crashes. Adolescents are far less likely to use seat belts than any other age group. When adolescents drive after drinking alcohol, they are more likely than adults to involve in a crash, even when drinking less alcohol than adults. Adolescents also cause a disproportionate number of deaths among nonadolescent drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

The AAP has made the following recommendations to pediatricians, in coordination with parents, to ensure safer teenage driving: Emphasize to both parents and teenagers how important safe driving is, including the fact that teenagers need to develop driving skills with supervise practice. Set a good driving example as an adult. Establish limits on your teenager’s driving privileges, such as limiting the number of passengers and/or restricting nighttime driving.

Impose penalties for irresponsible driving behavior. Supervise teenage drivers in vehicles. Make sure the vehicle mechanically safe. Get involve in community advocacy, such as helping coordinate alcohol free events; hence to help support parent peer initiatives and help teenagers avoid negative peer pressure. Support legislative advocacy that targets a reduction in motor vehicle crashes among teenage drivers; also such as graduate licensing systems and stricter minimum driving age laws.

School night sleep duration

The study compare data from two different academic years: 2014-15; which serve as a baseline, and 2015-16; so after the delay start was implemented. Students, who were between the ages of 16-18; also self-report school night sleep duration. The Fairfax (Virginia) County Youth Survey was use to determine; so the average sleep duration and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles provide de-identified data on driving accidents in both academic years.

There was a 5.25% decrease in the crash rate among teen drivers between the two academic years. This significant reduction was also see in distraction relate accidents (8.7%) and alcohol relate accidents (20%). During this same time period; hence there was an increase in teen accident rates by 3.5% in the rest of the state of Virginia.

“Interventions in reducing sleep loss in young drivers such as delaying school start times; hence may significantly reduce needless injuries and deaths due to drowsy driving,” says Dr. Saadoun Bin-Hasan, lead researcher. Further results from this study will be share at CHEST Congress 2019 in Bangkok on Thursday, April 11, at 4:15 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall. The study abstract can be view on the journal CHEST website.