Is Drowsy Driving A Problem For Teen Drivers?

Drowsy driving is a problem for everyone. Drowsy and fatigued driving have become one of the common reasons for motor vehicle accidents throughout the country. As we push ourselves to get more accomplished each day, sleep has become a “luxury” many people just don’t think they can afford.

Unfortunately, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous and risky as impaired driving. When you do not get enough sleep and get behind the wheel, you have the same impairment as if you were driving drunk. Experts estimate that driving after being awake for just 18 hours is the same as attempting to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08, which is illegal.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in 10 drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the past year and more than 70 million people suffer from a sleep disorder and/or sleep deprivation. About one in every eight crashes that result in injuries and one in every six fatal high crashes involve a drowsy driver. It is apparent that many drivers who are sharing the road with you each day are doing so without enough sleep and that creates a very dangerous situation for everyone.

Teenagers and Drowsy Driving

Teenagers can be at a higher risk for drowsy driving due to their school schedules. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reports that a teen driver who has less than eight hours of sleep is 30 percent more likely to crash compared to teens who have more than eight hours of sleep each night. Other important teen drowsy driving statistics include:

  • Most drowsy driving accidents involve a driver under the age of 25 years.
  • Teens need to have at least nine hours of sleep each night to remain alert enough to avoid the risk of drowsy driving.
  • Daily sleep is reduced between the ages of 13 and 19 years by almost an hour each day caused by later bedtimes but more by unstable wake-up

With classes beginning earlier and earlier for college and high school students and the amount of homework increasing, teens are having more difficulty getting the required nine hours each night to avoid drowsy driving. When you add a part-time job, participation in sports, and social activities to the schedule, some teens are trying to survive on less than six hours of sleep each night. Some parents and experts are pushing to change school hours; however, parents cannot rely on this option to reduce teen drowsy driving incidents.

What Can Parents Do to Help?

Parents need to be involved in their teen’s life, so they know what obligations their teen has that impacts his or her sleep schedule. Parents can also set rules that encourage teens to get more sleep such as:

  • No television or electronics (including phones) after 9 or 10 p.m.
  • Encourage teens to complete homework before dinner
  • Serve dinner by 7 p.m. each evening
  • Help teens develop a school night schedule that makes the most effective use of their time
  • Avoid activities that keep teens out late during the week
  • Encourage part-time jobs on weekends only
  • Don’t keep caffeinated beverages in your home

The best way to prevent a drowsy driving accident is to prohibit your teen from driving if he or she does not get enough sleep each night. Banning driving privileges under some circumstances may not be a popular move; however, it is much better than the alternative.

Call an Erie Car Accident Attorney for Help

If your teen driver is injured in a car wreck, don’t assume he or she is at fault. Regardless of the police report, seek legal counsel before taking any action regarding your teen’s accident claim.

Call the Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free consultation with an Erie car accident attorney. We are here to provide support and legal advice as you help your teen driver recover after a car accident.