In the first study of its kind, researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have investigated adolescent driving performance while texting in teens with ADHD. While texting and driving is dangerous for any driver, the researchers found that texting significantly increased the risk of dangerous driving in the teens with ADHD.
The study involved 61 participants, aged 16 and 17, who spent 40 minutes in a driving simulation. The simulation was able to measure the participants’ speed and lane potion and track the changes made while the teens texted or talked on the phone. Approximately half of the participants had a diagnosis of ADHD.
Texting was shown to significantly affect driving performance for all participants, but it was especially risky for the ADHD drivers. Even with no distractions, the ADHD drivers demonstrated greater variability in speed and lane position than their non-ADHD peers. When texting, the ADHD drivers spent essentially twice as much time outside of their lane.
This research suggests a need for more education for teens about the risks of texting and driving, as well as for increased enforcement of the laws.
“Texting is especially dangerous because it involve visual manual and cognitive distractions. Teens as a group are already at increased risk of distracted driving accidents. Now we know that an ADHD diagnosis and texting while driving increase those risks,” said Dr. Jerry Epstein, director of the Center for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder at Cincinnati Children’s.
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This research is published in JAMA Pediatrics.
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