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Mar 29

Are Teens with ADHD Safe Behind the Wheel?


By SheSpeaks | Parenting

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 Timesreport 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.”

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