For this study, researchers analyzed the health records of 14,936 teens who were patients of a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia facility and who had obtained their driver's license between January 2004 and December 2014. They found 1,769 teens who were diagnosed with ADHD and who earned their license during the study dates.
Those teens’ driving records were then compared to the records of teens without ADHD.
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Nearly 37 percent of teens with ADHD were issued a traffic violation and nearly 27 percent a moving violation within their first year of driving, compared to 25 percent and 18 percent, respectively, among teens without ADHD. Drivers with ADHD had “higher rates of alcohol or drug violations and moving violations (including speeding, nonuse of seat belts, and electronic equipment use). Their rate was 3.5 times that of young drivers without ADHD in the first year of driving and 1.5 times that of young drivers without ADHD in the first four years of driving,” the study concluded.
"We need additional research to understand the specific mechanisms by which ADHD symptoms influence crash risk so that we can develop skills training and behavioral interventions to reduce the risk for newly licensed drivers with ADHD," study co-author Thomas J. Power said.
The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.