Young Drowsy Drivers Causing Accidents
The National Transportation Safety Board released a report with research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finding that drivers aged 16 to 24 are at the greatest risk for being involved in a drowsy driving crash. One in five fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver.
Over 1300 drivers under the age of 25 were in fatal drowsy driving accidents between 2010 and 2015. That is over 30% of all drivers in drowsy driving accidents. It was also found that drivers aged 19 to 24 are more likely to fall asleep while driving than any other age group.
One of the major cause of this problem is that teens usually need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night, but according to the CDC more than 2/3 of high school students get 7 or less hours of sleep on average each night. These students were also more likely to have risky driving behaviors, such as texting while driving, drinking and driving or not wearing a seat belt
To combat these types of accidents, there are things that can be done:
- Make sure your young driver is making sleep a priority. Teens need 8 to 10 hours asleep unlike older adults who need between 7 and 9.
- Especially if you expect to be tired, avoid driving at nighttime or early in the morning. States, including Florida limit the times teens can drive anyway. In Florida, a teen driver who is 16 years old is allowed to drive between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm. A license holder who is 17 years of age is allowed to drive between the hours of 5:00 am and 1:00 am. For both of these restrictions, when driving outside these time limits the teen driver must be traveling to or from a place of employment or accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age.
- When talking to a new or young driver about safety, do not leave out drowsy driving as a risky behavior. It can be as dicey as drunk driving or distracted driving.
- If your teen will be out late or has to leave early in the morning, plan ahead so they have a safe ride.