New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Drowsy Driving and Teen Accident Risks

Posted on Jul 28, 2017 in Car Accidents

Teenage drivers have minimal driving experience and sometimes make unsafe driving decisions, putting themselves and others at risk of involvement in an auto accident. When teen drivers cause collisions to occur, a New York City car accident law firm can represent victims involved in crashes who are hurt by these teens.

Unfortunately, young motorists may become even more likely to cause collisions if they are fatigued while driving– which is a common problem since biology often puts young people on a sleep schedule that is at odds with the school schedule they must maintain.

Understanding Drowsy Driving Accident Risks for Teen Drivers

The New York Times reported on the problem of teen drowsy driving accidents. When a young person is an adolescent, their bodies want them to stay up late, according to research reported on by the Times.  Unfortunately, this means teens end up not going to bed at a reasonable hour and wanting to stay in bed until noon. When kids are forced to get up early to go to school, they experience difficulty waking up in the early morning hours and they will often feel sleepy during the course of the day.

Chronic sleepiness can become an issue for teens, which affects their safety and health in a number of ways. As the Times explains, this chronic fatigue caused by their body’s schedule being out of sync with their school’s schedule “becomes genuinely dangerous when sleepy teenagers get behind the wheel.”

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has sounded the alarm about teens who drive while fatigued, pointing to studies showing how common the problem of teen drowsy driving is.  AAA conducts a study each year asking respondents to indicate how many times in the 30 days before taking the survey the motorist drove while feeling too tired to keep his eyes open.  During five years of surveys, a full 25 percent of licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 indicated they had driven while drowsy at least one time. Around two percent of the teenaged drivers who responded to the survey said they had driven while fatigued either regularly or fairly often.

Early school start times can result in teenage drivers traveling to school after getting only four or five hours of sleep. Driving with such little sleep can impair a motorist in a number of ways and, as a result, can cause a similar car accident risk to driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is equal to the legal limit for drunk driving. If a motorist has slept for less than four hours over the course of the night, that driver is just as high-risk on the roads as a person who has consumed so much alcohol that his BAC is double the legal limit.

Teenage drivers, like all drivers, should not be operating a vehicle when fatigued and should be held accountable if they drive while tired and cause a crash. A New York City car accident firm can help victims of teen driving accidents to pursue a claim for compensation for losses. Contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff today.

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