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Do early school start times put students at risk?

School starts early for your teenage children. They complain about it and often refuse to get out of bed when you wake them up, and it gets frustrating. Eventually, though, you manage to get them up and out the door so that they can drive to school.

But should you be worried about more than just the effort it takes to get the day started? Are those early start times actually putting them in danger?

They may be. Studies have found that teens who have to get to school earlier get in more car accidents than those who have later start times.

Granted, it was a small study. It just looked at two different schools. One started around 7:20 a.m., while the other started around 8:45 a.m. Researchers looked at the accident rates for teenage drivers -- between 16 years old and 18 years old -- during the school week. They found that those who had to be in class by 7:20 a.m. had a 41 percent higher crash rate.

That's a very large jump, which is why this study is important. That extra hour of school may give students a chance for more classes and learning experiences, but it also raises their injury and fatality risks substantially. Is that really worth it? Your children may have a valid point when they complain that they are too tired to get up, as drowsy drivers crash more often than those who are awake and alert.

If you or a loved one suffers serious injuries in an accident, make sure you know all of the legal rights you have to seek compensation.

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