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ADHD in Adults Can Increase Car Crash Risk


A recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health examined the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its impact on crash risk among older adult drivers. The findings revealed that older adult drivers with ADHD face a significantly higher risk of being involved in crashes compared to their counterparts without ADHD.

The study considered various factors, including hard-braking events, self-reported traffic ticket events, and vehicular crashes. Interestingly, previous research on ADHD and driving safety has primarily focused on children and young adults, with limited studies investigating the association between ADHD and crash risk among older adults. This study sheds new light on this important topic. Read on to delve deeper into the details of this research.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It can manifest as deficits in either inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, or a combination of both.

In the U.S., approximately 9% to 13% of children under the age of 17 and 8% of adults between 18 and 44 years old are affected by ADHD. However, there has been a noticeable rise in reported cases of ADHD in adults in recent years, primarily due to improved diagnostic practices. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the prevalence of ADHD generally decreases with age.

It is important to note that many individuals may have ADHD without realizing it, as it often goes undiagnosed. Some may only become aware of their condition in adulthood, while others may live their entire lives without a formal diagnosis.

Individuals with ADHD may not exhibit all signs or traits and may have varying levels of each trait depending on the situation.

Examples of ADHD traits can include:

  • Taking a long time to complete tasks such as chores or homework
  • Forgetful about birthdays, homework, etc.
  • Possessing a low tolerance for boredom
  • Having issues with time management
  • Missing important information because of "zoning out"
  • Hyperfocusing on tasks that interest them, to the detriment of their basic needs, such as eating and sleeping

These are just a few signs that may be indicative of ADHD. However, experiencing some of these signs does not automatically indicate the presence of ADHD. Many of these signs can be common and relatable, but they do not necessarily mean that ADHD is present. It is crucial to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and to find appropriate treatment options.

Adult ADHD Driver Study Findings

The study, conducted between July 2022 and August 2023, focused on older adult drivers aged 65 to 79 years who were enrolled in the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. These participants, who were active drivers, were followed for up to 44 months using in-vehicle data recording devices and annual assessments. Out of the 2832 drivers studied, 75 (2.6%) had ADHD, and interestingly, the prevalence of ADHD was found to be 7.2% among older adults with anxiety or depression.

When analyzing the data, the researchers discovered some significant associations. After adjusting for demographic characteristics and comorbidities, it was found that individuals with ADHD had various increases in dangerous driving activity.

Researchers discovered the following patterns in drivers with ADHD:

  • 7% increased risk of hard-braking events
  • 102% increased risk of self-reported traffic ticket events
  • 74% increased risk of self-reported vehicular crashes.

These findings highlight the potential impact of ADHD on driving safety among older adults, emphasizing the importance of addressing this issue and implementing appropriate interventions.

According to Yuxin Liu, MPH, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and first author, "Our findings suggest that effective interventions to improve the diagnosis and clinical management of ADHD among older adults are warranted to promote safe mobility and healthy aging."

Get in Touch with Our Legal Firm

This research provides valuable insights into the various factors that influence road safety, enhancing our understanding of the subject. However, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is important to know that you can get help. Suffering injuries due to a negligent driver isn't something anyone should go through.

Our car crash attorneys at Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to request a consultation. Dial (937) 403-9033 or reach out to us online.