According to the National Highway Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death among American teenagers. Russell Barkley, a psychiatry professor who is an expert on ADD and driving, says that the problem of teens and driving is compounded by ADD and ADHD, due to the fact that those conditions cause the teen to be highly distractible and impulsive, and that medication can be effective in treating ADD and ADHD and helping with those symptoms that may cause problems with driving. According to Barkley, speeding is a major problem, as “In general, people with ADHD speed four times more often than those without ADHD.” Research has shown that accidents are two to three times more likely with drivers who have ADD or ADHD. Some suggestions for dealing with the issue of teens with ADD and driving include the following: stay away from alcohol, as people with ADD are more sensitive to alcohol’s effects, put away distractions such as cell phones and MP3 players, postpone getting a license while remaining in a learner’s permit program for at least one year and getting more behind-the-wheel experience, and parents should closely monitor the teen’s driving. Heeding some of these suggestions may prevent accidents and save lives.
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