Nav: Home

Teens with ADHD get more traffic violations for risky driving, have higher crash risk

May 20, 2019

Philadelphia, May 20, 2019--Teen drivers diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are significantly more likely to crash, be issued traffic and moving violations, and engage in risky driving behaviors than their peers without ADHD, according to a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) study published today in the journal Pediatrics.

The multidisciplinary team of researchers from CHOP's Center for Injury Research and Prevention and Center for Management of ADHD analyzed detailed crash and traffic violation records for newly licensed drivers to conduct the first large-scale longitudinal study on this topic.

By highlighting the specific types of crashes and traffic violations, this study identifies risky driving behaviors that those with ADHD may be more likely to engage in, such as driving while intoxicated, not wearing a seat belt, and speeding. Because these behaviors are amenable to change, these findings suggest that clinicians and families can work with this at-risk group of teens to practice safe driving behaviors and potentially reduce their crash risk.

"What this study suggests is that we have to go beyond current recommendations of medication and delaying the age of getting licensed to decrease crash risk for teens with ADHD," said Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and a Senior Scientist and Director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. "Their higher rate of citations suggest that risky driving behaviors may account for why they crash more. More research is needed to objectively measure if and how these behaviors specifically contribute to crash risk."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 6.1 million children ages 2 to 17 living in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. Many of these youth with ADHD are potential drivers, and safe transportation is a growing concern. Evidence-based guidance to clinicians and families is urgently needed to protect these drivers, as well as others on the road.

For the retrospective study, researchers reviewed the records of 14,936 adolescents who were patients at six CHOP primary care practices in New Jersey and had obtained an intermediate driver's license between January 2004 and December 2014. The study team linked the adolescents' electronic health data with New Jersey driver licensing records, traffic violations, and police-reported crash data. Within this group, the researchers identified 1,769 adolescents with childhood-diagnosed ADHD who obtained an intermediate driver's license during the study period, and compared their crash outcomes with those of the drivers without ADHD.

Although crash risk is elevated for all newly licensed drivers, the study team found it is 62 percent higher for those with ADHD the first month after getting licensed, and 37 percent higher during the first four years after licensure, regardless of their age when licensed. Drivers with ADHD also experienced higher rates of specific crash types, including driving with passengers, at-fault-, single vehicle-, injury- and alcohol-related crashes, the last risk being 109 percent higher than those without ADHD.

The rates of traffic and moving violations were also significantly higher among young drivers with ADHD as compared to those without ADHD. Among these drivers, nearly 37 percent 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 their peers 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.

"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," said Thomas J. Power, PhD, ABPP, study co-author and director of the Center for Management of ADHD at CHOP. "There's not enough research currently being conducted on older adolescents and young adults with ADHD, particularly studies focused on promoting safe driving behavior."
-end-
This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health grants R01HD079398 and R21HD092850.

Curry et al, "Longitudinal study of traffic crashes, violations, and suspensions among young drivers with ADHD." Pediatrics, online May 20, 2019. Doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2305.

About Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 564-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Related Adhd Articles:

Autism and ADHD share genes
Researchers from the national psychiatric project iPSYCH have found that autism and ADHD share changes in the same genes.
ADHD across racial/ethnic groups
This study of patients from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds who received care at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system looked at how common attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses were over a 10-year period across seven racial/ethnic groups.
Cycles of reward: New insight into ADHD treatment
Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in collaboration with scientists at the University of Otago and the University of Auckland in New Zealand, investigated the actions of the drug in rats.
Young mums more likely to have kids with ADHD
Young mothers have a greater chance of having a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) according to new research from the University of South Australia.
ADHD medication: How much is too much for a hyperactive child?
When children with ADHD don't respond well to Methylphenidate (MPH, also known as Ritalin) doctors often increase the dose.
Antipsychotic use in youths with ADHD is low, but still cause for concern
A new study eased fears about the proportion of youths with ADHD taking antipsychotic drugs, but still found that many prescriptions may be inappropriate.
How stimulant treatment prevents serious outcomes of ADHD
Analysis quantifies the extent which stimulant treatment reduces serious outcomes in children and young adults with ADHD.
Did Leonardo da Vinci have ADHD?
Leonardo da Vinci produced some of the world's most iconic art, but historical accounts show that he struggled to complete his works.
More sleep may help teens with ADHD focus and organize
Teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may benefit from more sleep to help them focus, plan and control their emotions.
Researchers have found the first risk genes for ADHD
A major international collaboration headed by researchers from the Danish iPSYCH project, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium has for the first time identified genetic variants which increase the risk of ADHD.
More ADHD News and ADHD Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 2: Every Day is Ignaz Semmelweis Day
It began with a tweet: "EVERY DAY IS IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS DAY." Carl Zimmer – tweet author, acclaimed science writer and friend of the show – tells the story of a mysterious, deadly illness that struck 19th century Vienna, and the ill-fated hero who uncovered its cure ... and gave us our best weapon (so far) against the current global pandemic. This episode was reported and produced with help from Bethel Habte and Latif Nasser. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.