Teens have high rates of drowsy driving, so why do most Denver high schools start before 8:30?

The Governors Highway Safety Association recommends later start times so that teenagers are safer behind the wheel.

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Later school start times reduce teen driver crashes, but most of Denver’s public high schools still start well before 8:30 a.m..

In cases where a school had two different start times, the more common start time was used to count their start time.

In cases where a school had two different start times, the more common start time was used to count their start time.

Nationally, 14.4 percent of public high schools start after 8:30 a.m., according to a report from Governors Highway Safety Association. That’s partly because the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for start times of 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high school students.

But in Denver, only 9.4 percent of schools start after 8:30 a.m..

Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. In fact, the number of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in a fatal crash in Colorado increased by 28 percent in between 2009 and 2014, CDOT said.

GHSA’s report argues that younger drivers are more likely to drive drowsy, and one of their recommendations is to change school start times. Two years ago, Denver Public Schools tried to initiate later start times, reports Chalkbeat Colorado.

Here we are, another year later, and no additional schools have shifted their start time. One reason for the difficulty is that special education students rely on buses to get to school, and shifting their start times starts a whole new logistical puzzle.

Meanwhile, Boulder Valley and Cherry Creek school districts are now pursuing later start times, Chalkbeat reported last week. Denver’s still sleeping on the idea.

 

 

 

 

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