Although some students and teachers complain about the late dismissal, the 8:50 a.m. start time in San Antonio public schools may do students and motorists a favor by reducing the number of car crashes on area roadways by decreasing the risk of fatigued driving. According to a recent study, a later start time (8:35 a.m. instead of 7:35 a.m.) translated to 70 percent fewer car accidents involving teen drivers between 16 and 18. Researchers also observed that the delayed start time led to higher grades in core subjects, better overall standardized test scores, reduced tardiness, and fewer absences. Scientists speculate that puberty triggers changes in adolescent sleep-wake cycles, so kids need more sleep at night and they feel sleepy in the morning. However, University of Minnesota Dr. Kyla L. Wahlstrom admitted that “there might [also] be social and environmental factors that influence adolescents’ sleep behavior.”
The precise number is hard to ascertain, but the Centers for Disease Control estimates that drowsy drivers cause between 5,000 and 6,000 fatal accidents every year. There is no objective test to determine fatigue level, and some accident reports do not even list “driver fatigue” as a possible contributing factor. Fatigued driving is similar to drunk driving. A person who drives after 17 hours without sleep is just as impaired as a driver with a BAC of .05. Driving after 24 hours without sleep is like driving with a .10 BAC, which is above the legal limit in every state. Drowsy drivers exhibit some of the same symptoms as drunk drivers, including:
- Delayed reaction time;
- Blurry vision;
- Difficulty processing information;
- Diminished decision-making capability, and
Shift workers who are on the night or swing shift, commercial drivers, persons with undiagnosed sleep disorders, and medicated drivers are some of the most vulnerable groups, as well as those who, for whatever reason, simply do not get enough sleep. If you were injured by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to cash compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and other items. Punitive damages may also be available in some cases. Fatigued drivers cause mayhem on Texas roadways. For a free consultation with an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney, contact our office. Call The Bettersworth Law firm at 830-443-9193 today.