Study found 21 percent higher chance of accident among those who slept less than 6 hours a night

Young drivers who are drowsy while driving run a greater risk of being in a car crash. However, Australian researchers found that if they don’t catch up on their weekends sleep, they are at even greater risk of an accident at night.

“This is another problem for adolescents that comes along with lack of sleep,” stated Dr. Flaura Winston (co-scientific director and founding member of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia). She said, “You must be ready body and mind to drive.” “If you feel exhausted, your body and mind are not ready.” Winston, who was not part of the study, stated that parents and the community both have a role to play in tackling this challenge.

She stated that this was a safety concern. Parents need to intervene if the teen isn’t getting enough sleep. Teens are more likely to crash if they don’t get enough sleep. Winston said that parents should view their role as helping their teenagers stay safe, but not being too controlling. Parents can encourage their teenagers to sleep more and offer rides to them at night to make sure they aren’t driving tired. Winston pointed out that letting teens sleep in on weekends is one of the best things parents can do. Winston said that teens need to catch up on their sleep. They do need to get up at night on weekends.

Teens’ sleep quality is also affected by social factors. Winston noted that many high schools begin classes too early and cut into students’ sleep. She said that studies have shown that adolescents are more comfortable attending school at later times. They start school earlier than usual, and they also have long work days. Winston explained that they have after-school activities, sports and study, which can put them at risk of driving. The report was published online in JAMA Pediatrics on May 20, 2012. Alexandra Martiniuk, associate professor at The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, collected data from more than 20,000 teens aged 17-24 to examine the role of sleep in car crashes.

Investigators discovered that people who slept less than six hours per night were at 21 percent greater risk of being in a car accident than those who slept more than six hours. They also found that those who slept less on weekends were at 55 percent higher risk of having a single car accident. This is where the car drifts off the road.

Researchers noted that 86% of accidents occurred between 8 p.m. (or 6 a.m.)

Young drivers are at high risk for a car accident if they sleep six hours per night. Martiniuk stated in a statement that it was easy for young drivers to neglect the hours of sleep they need because of work, study, and social obligations, particularly on weekends. Researchers noted that more than 3,000 people are killed in car accidents every day around the globe. This is a total of more than 1.3million deaths from car crashes each year. Between 20 million to 50 million people are injured or disabled. The study revealed that 20% of all crashes involving cars in the United States are caused by drowsy driving. This adds up to 1,000,000 crashes, 50,000 injuries, and 8,000 deaths per year.

Updated 01/24/22