A study in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows increased automobile crash rates among teen drivers who start school earlier in the morning. A Professor at Eastern Virginia medical school compared teen crash rates between Virginia Beach, VA., where classes start at 7:20 a.m., to those in neighboring Chesapeake, VA., where classes start over an hour later. The results indicated that crash rates were at least 25% higher in Virginia Beach, and the investigation further determined that traffic congestion between the two areas did not account for the different rates. The Professor intends to conduct further studies to follow up on this research and to make conclusions about the ramifications of early start times.
Another study that was profiled in this Journal set forth the conclusion that schools could enhance cognitive performance and increase teen attention levels if school starts were delayed. The study showed significant test improvement scores if school start times were delayed by at least an hour.