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Study: Teens With ADHD More Dangerous Than Drunk Drivers

Car accidents are the leading killer of Santa Monica teens and most of these accidents are due to driver distraction and inexperience. Studies have consistently shown that teens are more likely than other drivers to crash, especially in their first year of driving.

Some teens may be more dangerous drivers than others, however. A study on teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder found that these drivers are two to four times as likely to be in a car accident. Teens with ADHD are actually more dangerous than a legally intoxicated adult.

“When a driver takes his eyes off the road for two seconds or more, he’s doubled the risk of a crash,” the research said. The propensity for distraction and inattention is the primary reason why teens with ADHD are more dangerous drivers. Researchers also found that teens with ADHD are more impulsive and likely to take unnecessary risks on the road.

“It’s a bad combination for young drivers,” the research said. “They’re more prone to crashes because of inattention, but the reason their crashes are so much worse is that they’re so often speeding.”

The researcher recommended that parents encourage teens with severe ADHD to take slow-release medication to treat their condition. The researcher also said that parents should delay allowing their ADHD teens drive alone until they are mature enough to handle the responsibility.

Source: The New York Times, “Study: ADHD teen drivers run higher crash risk,” March 27, 2012