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ADHD Increases Driving Risk

While all parents should be concerned with teen driving statistics, parents whose teens have ADHD need to understand how the disorder increases driving risk for their child. Studies indicate that young people diagnosed with ADHD, who often find it difficult to sustain their attention and control their impulses, have abnormally high rates of traffic violations, accidents, and instances of driving without a license. A 2002 study1, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, reported that about 20 percent of the 105 people with ADHD who were studied had their license suspended or revoked — the same number had received 12 or more traffic citations or had caused more than $6,000 in damage in their first crash. Those figures are two to four times the norm for young adult drivers. Several research studies have shown that, compared to other teens, teenage drivers with ADHD:

  • are more likely to have received repeated traffic citations, most notably for speeding.
  • sustain three times as many car crash injuries as teens without ADHD.
  • are less likely to be practicing sound driving habits in their current driving performance, as reported by their parents.
  • are nearly four times more likely to have had an accident while they were the driver of a vehicle.
  • are found to be at fault for car crashes four times more often than peers without ADHD.
  • are six to eight times more likely to have their license suspended or revoked for poor driving behavior.
  • are more likely to have driven an automobile without adult supervision prior to becoming a licensed driver.

These startling statistics suddenly become personal when you’re helping teens with ADHD become safe and experienced drivers — and can be a powerful motivator to keep your students from becoming another statistic. The first step? Learning what puts young drivers at risk and the impact ADHD has on driving skills.

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