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This one thing can help prevent teen-involved car accidents

Numerous Louisiana teenagers drive themselves to school every single day. Sadly, many have been or will be involved in car accidents while doing so. According to a recent study, there is one thing that can help prevent teen-involved car accidents -- sleep.

A study out of Boston Children's Hospital found that allowing teenagers to sleep in greatly reduced the number of collisions involving 16- to 18-year-olds. The study looked at two years' worth of driving statistics in an area of the country that changed its school starting time to 8:30 a.m., giving teenagers an extra hour of sleep. Statistics showed that the number of accidents in this area and with this age group fell significantly.

How much sleep should teenagers be getting? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, middle and high school students really should get a total of 8 to 10 hours every night. Few do, though. Between jobs, sports, homework and having to get up early, most teens are getting far less sleep than what is recommended.

Pushing school start times back a bit may not seem like it would make a big difference, but the research is clear. Sleep is needed to make better decisions when behind the wheel. According to a video that accompanied the news report about this study, those who get the right amount of sleep are less likely to be distracted when behind the wheel, and they'll have better reaction times.

Too many Louisiana residents suffer injuries or are killed in car accidents with teenagers who are driving themselves to school on little sleep. Victims of these events, or their surviving family members, may be entitled to seek compensation for their losses through legal means. With the assistance of counsel, maximum relief can be sought through negotiation or litigation.

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