Teens often look forward to the opportunity to drive. However, they must also be prepared for the gravity of their responsibility, particularly given the enormous risk it is to be behind the wheel as a teen. AAA reports novice teen drivers aged 17 and younger have triple the risk of suffering a fatal accident than adults. Certain teens are even more likely to be involved in these deadly crashes. Another new study indicates that teen drivers who suffer from ADHD are more likely to be involved in collisions than other teen drivers.
The Research on Teen Drivers with ADHD
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) is a condition which many American children, teens, and adolescents suffer from. Among other symptoms. ADHD makes it difficult for the teen to concentrate on a single task. This lead a group of researchers to examine whether ADHD was correlated with higher rates of teen driver accidents. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, were that:
- The crash hazard among new teen drivers with ADHD was 36 percent higher than the crash risk for teens who had not been diagnosed with ADHD.
- The risk for ADHD drivers remained elevated regardless of licensure type, gender, age, and medication.
This is a relatively new issue, and further research is needed to identify the specific causes of increased crash risks for teen drivers with ADHD. Nonetheless, parents of teen drivers who have been diagnosed with ADHD should be particularly mindful of their teen’s driving habits, and provider extra training and supervision.
How To Keep Your Teen Driver Safe on the Road
The importance of parental involvement in safe teen driving cannot be overstated. It is critical that parents teach, enforce, and model good driving habits for their children - even those who are not yet of driving age.
- Establish and enforce family rules for distracted driving. Smartphones should only be used in the event of an emergency while driving. Texts can wait, and there is never a reason to access Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or other such apps while driving.
- Teens should also have clear rules for passengers in the vehicle. If parents allow their teen driver to have passengers in the vehicle, they must not be allowed to divert the driver’s attention from the road. Music and other noise levels should be kept to a minimum.
- Ensure your teen has sufficient practical driving experience before he or she is allowed to drive on their own. Highway driving, nighttime driving, and driving in heavy traffic all require a unique skill set which parents must help new drivers develop.
- Teach your child to be particularly cautious in and around their high school. High schools have high concentrations of young, inexperienced drivers. Teen drivers should be prepared to respond to erratic movements, pedestrians, heavy traffic, and other hazards they will face at their school.
- Help teen drivers with ADHD to understand both their symptoms, and how these symptoms can affect their safety while driving. Extend the periods of supervision and training to ensure that your child is not allowing him- or herself to become distracted while behind the wheel.
If your teen has been injured in a car accident, he or she has legal rights which must be protected. Contact an Alabama auto accident attorney as soon as possible.