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ADHD and Increased Accident Risks

Once a teenager obtains his or her driver’s license, many a parent has spent many nights worrying about their teen’s safe driving.  For parents of teens diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), this can be especially true.

Teenagers are already grappling with controlling their emotions, judgment, concentration and actions, which already places them in a high-risk category for accidents.  However, for a teen with ADHD, impulse control and focusing on a task, such as driving, is even more difficult.  Many teens with ADHD also struggle with being easily distracted which can make putting such a driver behind the wheel can be that more dangerous.

A new study has found that teenagers who have ADHD have a higher risk of being in a car accident than teenagers without the diagnosis.  While teens with ADHD seem to delay getting their license by six months after being eligible, once they do get their license, they have a 36 percent higher risk of being in a car accident as compared to teens without ADHD who have recently obtained their license.  These statistics were seen in both male and female teens.

According to the researchers, the symptoms associated with ADHD, such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, are the prime reason for the increase in the risk of accidents.  Other behaviors common to people who are diagnosed with ADHD, such as excessive risk taking, lack of aggression control, and substance abuse, aggravate the increased risk.  Driving requires complex cognitive function and the ability to multi-task which for a person with ADHD can be extremely challenging.  A person with ADHD may engage in risky driving behaviors such as running red lights, being distracted by their cell phone or radio, or engage in aggressive driving.  A person with ADHD may also be more apt to underestimate the speed of other vehicles around them or miss seeing traffic signs.  These behaviors are even more pronounce in teens.  The roadways in the metro Atlanta area are becoming more and more congestive and complicated.  Therefore, a driver must always maintain the highest level of concentration to avoid being in an accident.

On positive note, however, the study did find that the increased risk of accidents with ADHD was lowered if the driver was compliant with their medication. However, it is common for a person, especially teens, to not necessarily take their medication as directed.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is becoming a very common diagnosis among teens, Statistics show that 8 to 10 percent of children and teenagers suffer from this condition.  For parents who have a teenager who is eligible to get their driver’s license, an honest assessment of the teens maturity level and responsibility should be considered before allowing them to drive.  This is true for both teens diagnosed with ADHD and those who are not.  Families who do have a teenager with ADHD may want to consider working with a driving instructed who has experience training drivers with special needs.  An occupational therapist who is trained in driving rehab may also be helpful in preparing your teen for getting their driver’s license.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons who have suffered injuries in car accidents across Atlanta.