Background/Objective: The most prevalent cause of youth (aged 16-25) fatalities
is high risk driving behaviors (HRDB) leading to motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). We
examine: first, whether youth drivers diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD) may manifest an increased HRDB compared with Non-ADHD drivers of a similar
age and driving experience, and second, if, and to what degree, does compliance with
prescribed ADHD medications affect rates of HDRB.
Method: A systematic literature review was conducted for HRDB, MVCs, citations, and
violations in youth age 16-25 years old diagnosed with ADHD using the Preferred Reporting
Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Twelve out of fiftynine
papers met the search criteria.
Results: The diagnosis of ADHD is associated with increased rates of HRDB. Inattention is a
significant predictor of driving problems and reduced driving safety (P<.05). The relationship
between hyperactivity/impulsivity and self-reported violations showed a trend towards poor
driving behaviors (p=.08). Youth with ADHD who are treated with stimulants have
statistically significant improvements in simulated driving performance compared to those
treated with placebo (P=.005).
Conclusion: Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in affected youth reduces
the risk for HRDB. Continued examination of safety, legal and ethical implications of
obtaining a driver license and operating a vehicle by youth with ADHD is necessary in order
to reduce HRDB and MVCs in this high risk population.