Teens Are at a Higher Risk for Drowsy Driving Crashes

Person driving in the dark

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that teens sleep between eight and 10 hours each night for optimal health. In order to get eight hours of sleep and make it to school on time, a teen would likely need to be asleep by 11 p.m. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average California school starts at 8:07 a.m. With school, extracurricular activities, jobs, social lives and homework, most teenagers do not get enough sleep.

The biggest tip to avoid a drowsy driving crash: sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), getting six hours of sleep or less per night triples a person’s risk for a drowsy driving accident. Sleep deprivation affects alertness, reaction time and judgment. Mixing 18 hours of sleep deprivation with driving is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent. In addition, the human body will get sleep when it needs it, even at the most inopportune times.

To combat teen drowsy driving crashes, many states have instated driving curfews. For example, in California, it is against the law for a teenager to drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the first 12 months of having their license. Even so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, teen drivers accounted for nearly 10 percent of drowsy driving crashes.

As a parent of a teen, you have more influence than you think. Help your teen avoid a drowsy driving crash by enforcing California’s curfew law and enforcing your own house rules. Help your teen stay in a consistent sleep schedule.

Need a Car Accident Attorney?

If you have been involved in a car accident with a drowsy driver, you could be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries or damages. Contact the car accident attorneys at Traffic Accident Law Center to discuss your situation. Our attorneys fight for clients who have been injured due to negligence in San Diego County. Call today at (760)798-7000 to schedule a free consultation.