Study links young driver accidents to sleeplessness

IF THE late teen or young adult in your house wants to sleep, there is now compelling evidence to let them.

A new study has found that young drivers who do not sleep enough are at significant risk of having a car crash.

The study which was published in JAMA Paediatrics also found sleeping less on weekends puts young drivers at greater risk of having a car crash at night, as well as having an increased chance of run-off-road crashes.

The Australian study, the first of its kind, examined the association between sleep and motor vehicle crashes in more than 20,000 newly licensed drivers aged 17-24 years.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Alexandra Martiniuk of The George Institute for Global Health and The University of Sydney, says it does not take drastic sleep deprivation to impact young driver safety.

The findings point to the urgent need for education campaigns targeting young drivers, especially the newly licensed, around the importance of sleep and road safety.

Sleepiness is associated with lapses in attention, slowed reaction time, impairments in judgment, difficulty regulating emotions including increased aggression, and risky behaviour; effects that are also magnified by alcohol consumption.



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