August 2, 2006

Study suggests young adult drivers with ADHD run greater risk of collisions

Washington, D.C. – A pilot study conducted by researchers at the Washington Neuropsychological Institute found that a small group of young adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) improved their safety performance when treated with medication. The study suggests that untreated ADHD compromises road safety, by impairing an individual’s ability to focus. The Institute says that approximately eight million adults in the U.S. are affected by ADHD.

“Many teenage and young adult drivers with ADHD have trouble complying with the rules of the road, and have difficulty staying focused on the complex and demanding task of driving,” says Dr. Gary Kay, Director of the Institute. “This study demonstrated that treatment of ADHD symptoms may lead to improvement of driving safety performance.”

Researchers used a driving simulator to determine the participants’ safety scores. Participants treated with medication were better able to avoid crash-likely events, were less likely to tailgate other drivers, and were more able to maintain their speed and comply with traffic regulations than when they received a placebo.

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