All parents get anxious when their teen driver gets behind the wheel. Car accidents are the number onecause of death for teens. However, parents of teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have even more to worry about. A new studyin the Journal Pediatrics found that teen drivers with ADHD have a higher risk of being involved in a crash and are more likely to get traffic tickets.
The study found that in the first month of driving, a teen with ADHD is 62% more likely to be involved in an auto accident than other teen drivers. The study also showed that over the course of four years, teen drivers with ADHD were two times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash than a teen driver without ADHD. It was also discovered that teen drivers with ADHD were more likely to get traffic tickets for infractions such as driving distracted, speeding, and failing to wear a seatbelt. Around 36% of drivers with ADHD received a traffic ticket compared to 25% for drivers without ADHD.
Reasons for the Risk
There are a number of reasons related to an ADHD diagnosis that can contribute to the increased driving risk. ADHD symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and issues with attention and focus. As a result, many of the necessary skills needed for safe driving are lacking in teens with ADHD. It is clear that a teen driver with ADHD would be more prone to distraction while driving and would be more likely to engage in risky, impulsive behaviors.
Reducing the Risk
There may be a need for significant intervention at the driver training stage for teen drivers with ADHD in order to reduce the risk of accidents and tickets. Parents should get involved early and ensure that their teen has plenty of practice behind the wheel. In addition, driver education programs should be modified to emphasize the importance of avoiding distraction and risky behavior. If a teen lacks good judgment and is not mature enough to handle driving, then parents should not be afraid to discourage their teen from driving. In addition, parents can limit distractions by forcing their teen to turn off their cellphone while driving and discourage them from driving with teen passengers, can also help reduce the danger.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental illnesses. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.