Drowsy driving and teen motor vehicle crashes: Impact of changing school start times

Lisa J. Meltzer, Amy E. Plog, David Swenka, David Reeves, Kyla L. Wahlstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the United States, with drowsy driving a major contributing factor. Early school start times have been identified as a significant factor that reduces adolescent sleep duration, which in turn contributes to drowsy driving and MVC. This paper examined the longitudinal impact of delaying secondary school start times on self-reported student drowsy driving and teen MVC. Methods: Secondary school students (10th and 11th grade, 51.7% female, 67.8% White) in the United States completed annual surveys 1 year before and 2 years after implementation of later school start times (70-min delay, n range 1642–2452 per year), reporting frequency of drowsy driving (less than once/week vs. at least once/week). Teen (16–18 years) MVC data from the Colorado Department of Transportation for the 2 years before and 2 years after later start time implementation were compared for Arapahoe County (where start times changed) and neighboring Adams County and Douglas County (where start times did not change). Results: With later start times, there was a significant drop in the percent of students who reported frequent drowsy driving (pre-change: 32.6%, post-change: 21.9%, follow-up: 22.8%). Weekday teen MVC rates went down in Arapahoe County (p =.04) during the school year, while no change or increases in MVC rates were seen in neighboring counties. Conclusions: Healthy school start times are important for adolescent health and safety, with study findings highlighting the downstream effects of increased sleep duration following a 70-min delay in secondary school start times on adolescent drowsy driving and teen MVC rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-805
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume94
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the students who participated in CaSTLES and the members of the Cherry Creek School District who actively supported this study, including former CCSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried, Janise McNally, and Ann Dosen, along with the Assessment and Performance Analytics team and Information Systems team, as well as the Colorado Department of Transportation Traffic Safety and Engineering Services Branch and Applied Research and Innovation Branch. This study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson's Evidence for Action program (grant #75277). The study does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Evidence for Action Program. The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Funding Information:
We thank the students who participated in CaSTLES and the members of the Cherry Creek School District who actively supported this study, including former CCSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried, Janise McNally, and Ann Dosen, along with the Assessment and Performance Analytics team and Information Systems team, as well as the Colorado Department of Transportation Traffic Safety and Engineering Services Branch and Applied Research and Innovation Branch. This study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson's Evidence for Action program (grant #75277). The study does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Evidence for Action Program. The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Adolescence published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Foundation for Professionals in Services to Adolescents.

Keywords

  • adolescent sleep
  • drowsy driving
  • health policy
  • motor vehicle crash
  • school start times

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Drowsy driving and teen motor vehicle crashes: Impact of changing school start times'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this