Are Teens with ADHD Safe Behind the Wheel?

   By drodriguez  Mar 29, 2012

Handing over the car keys is worrisome for any parent of a new teenage driver. But when you add cognitive conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Asperger syndrome, the worries and risks escalate. A recent New York Times report highlights the unique challenges teens with ADHD face when learning to drive.

Since driving takes a great amount of focus and patience, it would make sense that teens with the hyperactive disorder would have a more difficult time honing this skill.

A recent study from the Medical University of South Carolina and Daniel J. Cox of the University of Virginia Health System finds that drivers with ADHD are up to four times more likely to have an accident as those without the condition. And surprisingly, young adults with the ADHD are even more likely to get into a wreck than a legally drunk adult.

Researchers suggest parents encourage their teens with ADHD to wait until they are a little older to begin driving. And when they do begin to learn, be patient because it may take them longer until they are fully ready to be safe on the road.

Senior investigator at the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Bruce Simons-Morton, explains why he believes it is best for teens with cognitive conditions to hold off on driving until they are older. Dr. Simons-Morton says, “If I were the parent of an ADHD or other special-needs kid, my goal would be to delay licensing. They mature, they accommodate to their deficits and they’re more likely to take medication.”

What do you think of the study that reveals teens with ADHD are more prone to accidents on the road?

Do you have a teen driver with ADHD? Share your experiences here!

*Photo Credit: Matt Rainey/New York Times*

Make a Comment

adtirey by adtirey | FRANKLIN, IN
Apr 06, 2012

I agree that, at 16, no kids should be driving unsupervised. Keep the permit laws: no driving at night, no cell phones PERIOD, and only with an adult in the car, until 18.

marnierily by marnierily | S El Monte, CA
Mar 30, 2012

I think Kids should have to wait til they are 18 to drive. Driving is a privilege not a right. Teens with ADHD should not have that Privilege. This might sound mean but, I sure dont want to be on the road with someone that cant keep driving on their mind.

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Mar 29, 2012

Personally I feel no 16 yr. old should be handling such a huge responsibility. I think the ADD/ADHD issue is a farce. In that case we should look into every depressed person, everyone who's been in JDH or jail, etc, etc., and then make them wait. I feel any teen should have to wait and be evaluated at age 21 to drive. I've known of "normal" kids drive and cause road rage.