Sleep Deprivation May Increase Risk of Teenagers Being Struck by a Vehicle

Drowsy driving can affect motorists of all ages. But new research suggests sleep deprivation can increase the risk of pedestrian accidents among teenagers.

These findings stem from a study performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Youth Safety Lab. Using virtual technology, a group of 14-and 15-year-olds were tested on their ability to safely cross a street when sleep deprived. The study was published September 3 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The recommended number of hours of sleep per night for teenagers is eight. Those who had received half of that amount experienced 2.2 close calls with a vehicle (in the virtual-reality setting used in the study), compared to 1.42 for teens who received more sleep. Additionally, teens that hadn’t received adequate sleep crossed the street and made contact with a vehicle the fastest.

Insufficient sleep for just one night can have negative effects. Sleep deprived teenagers may be less likely to pay attention when crossing, can be easily distracted and lack the ability to make good decisions.

Other Risk Factors for a Pedestrian Accident

Another impairment that can increase risk of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle is intoxication. Just as it can be dangerous behind the wheel, one’s judgment while walking can be hindered by drugs and alcohol.

Other risk factors for a pedestrian accident include: 

  • walking at night;
  • walking in urban areas;
  • exiting a bus;
  • walking in the street;
  • walking with traffic rather than against it;
  • crossing in the middle of an intersection; and
  • crossing in-between cars.

Children between five and nine years old are most at risk for a pedestrian accident, along with adults 65 years and older. Of course, the severity of an injury is also impacted by the vehicle. For instance, those traveling at a higher rate of speed are more likely to cause serious, life-threatening injuries.

If you’ve been struck by a negligent driver and wish to explore your options for financial recovery, set up a consultation with Gacovino, Lake & Associates. Call 800-246-4878.

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