Study: Teen drivers with ADHD at greater risk for motor vehicle wrecks

Based on the findings of a recently published study, newly licensed teen drivers who suffer from ADHD may be more likely to be involved in a crash.

Better known by its acronym, ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the most frequently diagnosed mental disorder among children in Texas and throughout the U.S. This condition causes varying behavioral symptoms, including inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Young people who suffer from ADHD are often affected at home and academically by the behaviors brought out by their condition. Based on the findings of a study recently published in JAMA Pediatrics, ADHD may also affect teen drivers' risk of being involved in auto accidents, which may result in serious injuries or death for them or others.

Studying the link between ADHD and young drivers' accident risk

Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recently conducted a study to better understand the impact that ADHD has on teen drivers' collision risk. To this end, they performed a retrospective cohort analysis using statewide licensing and accident databases, as well as electronic health records. Using a survival analysis, the researchers estimated adjusted hazard ratios for licensing and the outcomes of auto accidents.

The study group included 18,344 New Jersey residents who were born between 1987 and 1997, patients at age 12-years-old or older at one of the included primary care practices, and eligible to get their driver's licenses between 2004 and 2014. Of the participants in the analysis, 2,479 suffered from ADHD. The researchers monitored for the age at which adolescents with ADHD obtained their driver's licenses and their first involvement in a motor vehicle collision while behind the wheel.

ADHD may increase teen drivers' risk of crashing

Based on their analysis, the researchers determined that newly licensed young people who suffer from ADHD are at an increased risk of getting into motor vehicle collisions. Compared to other adolescents who recently obtained their driving licenses, the researchers found that those with the condition were 1.36 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident. Further, they found the crash risk for this group remained elevated throughout their initial driving years. The enhanced collision risk remained consistent, regardless of the age at which the participants were licensed or their sex. Through their study, the researchers identified that medications may aid in decreasing this risk, but only if they are used while the teens are driving.

Working with an attorney

When teen drivers who are living with ADHD cause motor vehicle collisions in Texas and elsewhere, those involved may suffer serious injuries and require medical treatment. Consequently, they may incur medical bills they were not expecting, and be forced to take time off work, which may result in lost wages. In some situations, the motorists who cause such accidents may be held financially responsible. Therefore, people who have been injured in auto wrecks may benefit from discussing their rights and options with a legal representative. A lawyer may help them determine how best to proceed and guide them through the legal process.