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Teens With ADHD More Likely to be in a Car Crash and Have Road Violations

5/20/2019


Young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) face many challenges, including increased rates of substance use, obesity, and suicidal behavior, but a new study in the June 2019 Pediatrics (published online May 20), “Traffic Crashes, Violations, and Suspensions among Young Drivers with ADHD” finds they are also far more likely to be in a crash. Researchers linked the records of patients with ADHD, who were born between 1987 and 1997, at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s New Jersey locations to the state’s licensing, crash, and violation databases. They found that crash rates were higher for drivers with ADHD, regardless of their age when licensed. The crash rate for new drivers with ADHD for the first month after licensure was 62% higher than drivers without ADHD, and the four-year crash rate of drivers with ADHD was 37% higher. They also had higher rates of suspensions and road violations—including speeding, seat belt non-use, and electronic equipment use. In the first year of driving, the rate of alcohol or drug violations was 3.6 times higher for teens with ADHD. Researchers concluded teen drivers with ADHD are at high crash risk particularly in their initial months of licensure, but that more studies that objectively measure risky driving behaviors among these adolescents are needed to help develop strategies to protect teenaged drivers with ADHD.

Editor’s Note: A solicited commentary, “Driving the point home: Novel approaches to mitigate crash risk for patients with ADHD,” will be published in the same issue of Pediatrics.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds