Eastern Virginia Medical School researchers say they have found a connection between sleep deprivation and teen car crash rates, particularly in the morning when students are in a mad rush to get to class on time.
The study looked at the 2008 teen crash rates in Va. Beach and Chesapeake, based on Virginia DMV statistics. It found more crashes in Virginia Beach, where high school classes began at 7:20 a.m., than in Chesapeake, where classes started at 8:40 a.m.
The research apparently suggests that later school start times would allow teens to get more sleep and therefore be more alert behind the wheel and in the classroom. EVMS researchers also looked to another study that apparently revealed that delaying high school star times by one hour reduced teen car crashes by 16 percent.
A spokesperson for Virginia Beach school system said that it does not currently have a later starting time for the high school day under consideration, but that it wishes to review the specifics of the research findings.
WAVY aired this report on the study: