ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It is a brain disorder that is characterized by an ongoing pattern of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with daily functioning.

On June 12, 2017, the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics published a study that found that adolescents with ADHD were 36% more likely than other adolescent drivers to get into a car accident. Six pediatric practices in New Jersey contributed data for the study. All of the practices are part of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia medical network and were linked to statewide driver licensing and crash databases for a period of a decade.  This is not a new finding, but the statistical percentage of likelihood found changed.  This statistic is lower than previously reported findings. Earlier research studies used smaller samples of teens from specialty clinics and had other limiting factors for reliability. The study published on Monday had a sample of 18,500 electronic health records for adolescents. Of those, almost 2,500 had diagnosed ADHD.

Parents do not necessarily need to be fearful of these results. The study also resulted in other important findings. For example, the study also found that adolescents with ADHD were less likely to get their driver’s licenses and more likely to obtain a driver’s license at an older age than the required minimum state age. Of importance is also the fact that the children in the study were labeled with ADHD by their primary care pediatricians. The lack of more rigorous evaluations utilized in making formal diagnosis of ADHD may suggest that not all adolescents with an ADHD diagnosis included in the study actually suffer from ADHD. Parents can also take heed in another study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry last month. That study showed that drivers diagnosed with ADHD who take medications to treat the disorder have dramatically lower rates of car accidents.

For more detailed information on ADHD and with any questions understanding these recent studies, individuals can visit the National Resource Center on ADHD at www.help4adhd.org