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Earlier School Start Times Result In Higher Crash Rates For Teen Drivers

NORFOLK, VA (CBS) – New research out of Virginia has some disturbing news for the parents of teenage drivers.

According to the research, which is published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, early high school start times could result in a higher rate of accidents for teen drivers.

The study was a follow-up to previous research done on the state in nearby counties back in 2007-2008.

This research looked at Henrico and Chesterfield Counties during the school years of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Using data available from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles on weekday crashes for 16 to 18 year olds, the scientists compared rates for counties with early school start times to later school start times and with adult crash rates.

What they found – again – is that teen crash rates were higher in places with earlier high school start times.

"Chesterfield County, where schools begin at 7:20 a.m., had a significantly higher rate of crashes among teen drivers than did teens in Henrico County where high schools begin at 8:45 a.m.," says a release from Eastern Va. Medical School.

It's just one more reason to consider pushing back the time the bell rings, researchers say.

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