Teens with ADHD face high road accident risk: Study

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Washington– Teenage drivers diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are significantly more likely to engage in rash driving, violate traffic rules and crash as compared to their contemporaries without ADHD, says a study.

In the study published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Pennsylvania, found that teenagers with ADHD are more likely to engage in risky driving, such as driving while intoxicated, not wearing seat belt and speeding.

“What this study suggests is that we have to go beyond current recommendations of medication and delaying the age of getting license to decrease crash risk for teens with ADHD,” said Allison E. Curry, lead author of the study and a senior scientist at CHOP.

“Their higher rate of citations suggest that risky driving behaviours may account for why they crash more,” Curry added.

For the study, the researchers included identified 1,769 newly-licensed teenage drivers with childhood-diagnosed ADHD and compared their crash and traffic violation records with those of the drivers without ADHD.

The study’s findings showed that among teen drivers with ADHD, nearly 37 per cent were issued a traffic violation and nearly 27 per cent a moving violation within their first year of driving, as compared to 25 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, among those without ADHD.

The study highlighted that drivers with ADHD had higher rates of “alcohol or drug violations and moving violations (including speeding, non-use of seat belts and electronic equipment use)”.

“We need additional research to understand the specific mechanisms by which ADHD symptoms influence crash risk so that we can develop skills training and behavioural interventions to reduce the risk for newly licensed drivers with ADHD,” said Thomas J. Power, study’s co-author and Director of the Centre for Management of ADHD at CHOP. (IANS)

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