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Car Accident Risks and ADHD

Driving safety is a matter of concern for parents of most teens, and especially so for the parents of a teenager diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A new study finds that teenagers who suffer from ADHD are more likely than their peers to be involved in a motor vehicle collision.

After acquiring a driver’s license, a teen with ADHD has a risk of having a car accident that is 36% higher than non-ADHD teens who have recently been licensed.  The crash risk is the same for both boys as well as girls with ADHD. The study is not all doom and gloom, however. The same study finds that the accident risk for teens with ADHD is actually much lower than earlier studies have found.

Researchers believe that medication significantly reduces the risk that a teen with ADHD will meet with an accident.  At the time of the study, only 12 percent of teenagers were on any kind of ADHD medication.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a very common condition affecting teens, and statistics show that as many as 8-10% of children and teenagers suffer from this condition. Teenagers are already struggling with behavioral characteristics that may place them at a high risk of accidents while driving, such as higher risk taking on the road. However, teenagers who suffer from ADHD may have these behavioral characteristics exacerbated in their personality.

Teenagers with this condition may suffer from hyperactivity, and may be very likely to act impulsively. They may struggle with concentration, and find it difficult to pay attention to a task for long periods of time. They may get easily distracted, or may become forgetful. They may also be much more prone to confusion, disorientation and daydreaming. These factors significantly increase their risk of being involved in an auto accident. They may also be much more susceptible to impatience and frustration, and may have difficulty waiting for their turn or controlling their emotions. Inability to control emotions, or lack of patience could lead to dangerous behaviors like road rage or aggressive driving, which can increase a person’s risk of being involved in an accident.

Not all news for people with ADHD is bad, however. Another study finds that the car accident isk for people with ADHD drops when they are on ADHD medication.