Questionnaire responses were analyzed from 19,327 newly licensed drivers from 17 to 24 years old who held a first-stage provisional license between June 2003 and December 2004. Researchers also analyzed licensing and police-reported crash data, with an average of 2 years of follow up.
On average, individuals who reported sleeping 6 or fewer hours per night had an increased risk for crash compared with those who reported sleeping more than 6 hours. Less weekend sleep was significantly associated with an increased risk for run-off-road crashes. Crashes for individuals who had less sleep per night (on average and on weekends) were significantly more likely to occur between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
"This provides rationale for governments and health care providers to address sleep-related crashes among young drivers," the study concludes.