February 3, 2018


Schools Consider Later Start Times  (VALLEY PARENTS, 2/02/18)

There is one especially compelling reason to give later start times a second look: They have been shown to reduce the number of car accidents involving young drivers.

In 2015, the National Highway Safety Administration commissioned a study to examine the connection between car accidents and early start times. The research showed that when high school start times in one county in North Carolina were moved from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. there was a 14 percent decrease in accidents involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers over the course of the day.

Dr. Brooke Judd, the section chief of sleep medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said that the issue of early high school start times and their effect on sleep is especially important in a rural area like the Upper Valley, where many high schoolers commute long distances to school.

"It can be really challenging for kids coming from far away for early school start times," she said. "It can become very easy to get very sleep deprived."

With an estimated 16.5 percent of fatal accidents involving drowsy drivers, having later school start times could very well save a life.

"I don't think adults understand that there is this natural shift to fall asleep later, and this may require some adjustments on the other end," Judd said.

Posted by at February 3, 2018 7:53 AM


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