Mental Health Issues in Teens and CrashesJune 20, 2018
According to research, approximately two million teens suffer from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in this country and up to four percent of nine to 17-year-olds suffer from conduct disorder. These are just two examples of mental disorders that can cause teen drivers to engage in risky driving behaviors. A recent study published in Nursing Research found that the symptoms of these disorders can have a negative impact on teens’ ability to drive safely. This may contribute to the increased risk of car accidents in newly licensed teen drivers.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There were 60 study participants, aged 16 to 19, who received their driver’s license within the past 90 days. A high-fidelity driving simulator assessed their driving skills, including their ability to respond to several common, yet avoidable crash scenarios, including rear-end collisions or a hidden hazard. Researchers analyzed the data on a range of behaviors, including whether they stopped at stop signs, if their attention was on the road or elsewhere, and if they slammed on the brakes in reaction to a potentially dangerous situation.
In addition to the risky driving behaviors, the researchers evaluated the teens’ mental health symptoms, focusing on those that are most associated with risky driving. The symptoms included ADHD, conduct disorder, and depression. Each participant was asked to fill out a self-report questionnaire about risky driving behaviors like speeding, driving without wearing a seat belt, or driving with other teen passengers in the car at night. Each of the teens’ parents were also asked to fill out a questionnaire about their child’s mental health.
According to the researchers, the symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity caused risky driving behaviors rather than the actual diagnosis of ADHD. However, teen drivers whose responses qualified them for a clinical follow-up for ADHD and conduct disorder had higher scores for risky driving behavior. According to the Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing, there were more inattention-related errors in the simulator, while the self-reported risky driving behaviors were related to hyperactivity and conduct disorder. These results suggest that we should be talking to patients and their families about how to protect our young adults by addressing these important mental health issues and how it affects their ability to drive safely. Nurses are in a unique position to counsel teens and discuss the connection between mental health and risky driving.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent All Car Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a teen driver who has mental health issues, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our compassionate and dedicated team will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for any injuries you may have sustained. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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