This research study was conducted by Russell A. Barkley, PhD, Kevin R. Murphy, PhD, and Denise Kwasnik, MA. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the motor vehicle caving knowledge, skills, and negative caving outcomes of older teens and young adults withattention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The subjects were a total of 25 young adults with ADHD and 23 young adults without ADHD 17-30 years of age(22.5 average age) drawn from the community and equated in gender,culture and educational level.

The methods that were used were structured interviews, behavior ratings by self and others, video test of driving knowledge; computer simulated driving test, and official motor vehicle records. Dependent measures were self reported driving history, official state driving record, and an elemental driving system which simulates driving using an IBM compatible software program, computer, personal console, steering wheel and directional signals which used to present high pressure real world driving scenarios from the viewpoint of the driver. The test assesses decision-making strategies while driving. The software provided a number of different scores for each trial and across the three trials.

The eight scores that were measured included traffic /speeding violations, drunk driving, license suspensions, and crashes as a driver, along with number of crashes.

To be eligible for this study, the ADHD adults had to receive an official diagnosis and present at least six of the nine symptoms of inattention and six of nine symptoms of hyperactive-impulsive symptoms lists based on retrospective recall of childhood behavior. To further screen, these symptoms persisted into adulthood as well. Of the ADHD subjects, five were currently taking medications of which four were receiving stimulants and one antidepressants. They were requested to refrain from taking their medication 24 hours before the testing procedures.

Subjects underwent testing in two half day appointments, along with structured interviews concerning any psychiatric disorders, their educational, work, and criminal, drug-use, and driving histories. The video tape test of driving knowledge was then administered followed by a computer simulated driving performance test. After these appointments, the official driving records were obtained in these subjects from the state department of motor vehicles.

Results. ADHD young adults were cited more often for speeding, were more likely to have had their license suspended, were involved in more crashes, were more likely to have had crashes causing bodily injury, and were rated by themselves and others as using poorer driving habits. Official driving records corroborated these negative outcomes.

Although no group differences in driving knowledge were evident, young adults with ADHD had more crashes, scrapes and erratic steering during the computer simulated driving test than did the control subjects.

The findings of this study may be of importance of attempting to design interventions that reduce the increased driving risks associated with ADHD. I feel that there is a lot of good research out there on ADD/ADHD; however, what they do with the information is of greater importance. I think there needs to be more of a focus on taking the interventions further.

Conclusions Findings supported previous research suggesting that greater risks are associated with ADHD and suggested that ADHD does not interfere with driving knowledge as with actual performance (motor control) during vehicle operation. Pediatrics 1996; 981089-1095; driving, ADHD, adolescents, adults, accidents. I feel they should have had some actual people with ADD help them in determining the actual criteria that they should use to get research that is more accurate.

The reason for the research was due to the symptoms of ADHD. Some of its main symptoms are lack of rule-following behavior, motor control, reaction time, attention persistence, and activity regulation. Their intervention strategies show that they did not have someone that has the actual diagnosis help with the study or intervention strategies. What they have down for actual strategies would work for the non-ADD person, but not for the ADD person.

Based upon my own personal reaction, since I have ADD/ADHD myself, I find the above information fascinating, yet lacks in information, etc. I myself, have had two traffic accidents, (before the age of 20) and have had over 30 warning tickets issued, and 15 speeding tickets issued in my 18 years of driving experience which would coo borate with the above information. However, since I have been on medication for a little over a year now, I have not had one speeding ticket, and my driving is much more controlled.

Based upon the critical thinking model, the problems I see with the research are the lack of a control group of subjects with other psychiatric disorders who do not have ADHD. There is simply not enough evidence to come to their conclusions. I also feel that generalized too much and assumed this is the majority of the population with their results, and there are just too many independent variables that they did not consider. There are other psychiatric disorders that are known to be associated with elevated driving risks. The study should have been a larger group of people with ADHD. They used a computer simulated driving performance tests, which to me is less sensitive to real world driving and situations. This is a real weakness in the study, because of research that suggests one of the symptoms of ADHD is anxiety disorders. Testing anxiety performance, anxiety disorders. They did not take into account the main symptoms of ADHD and were too focused on the results. I do not find their results accurate, because they did not test a large enough population with ADD/ADHD, nor did they use testing that would have been more accurate. They needed to use real behind the wheel tests. You will also find that research which they didn’t take into account has stated that people with ADD/ADHD tend to exhibit more driving risks at night, because of medication wearing off, or if they are driving by themselves, or with other people in the car. Another weakness in the study is that they used official driving records.

With the laws the way they are now, if you go to a class, or ask for supervision, the ticket is taken off your record. The results actually could be more tickets. Nor did they ask in the driving suspensions if they were due to a lack of not showing up for their tickets, as research as found that people with ADD, tend not to keep appointments or do it when they feel like doing it. Such as rule breaking behaviors. They also did not look at official written warning tickets, which would potentially add to the results of the study.

3-5 % of the population in the US has officially been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, We need to educate those diagnosed, and I did not see any particular positive conclusions to the research, to alleviate the problems, I only see problems. What they concluded for interventions were refresher citation driving courses as a means of a punishment. People with ADD beat to their own dream. It has been proven repeatedly, that punishments are not severe enough consequences for someone with ADD. Getting people diagnosed to show up the course is another issue, as they tend to not want to feel controlled. However, I think an ADD group would be a key. People with ADD like to be around other people with ADD, because they understand each other. He could be an online group, group meeting in person or at someone’s house. They could have tips on how they have learned to drive better. People take criticism easier with someone with the same diagnosis as them. Positive intervention and not criticism is the key. Focus on medication as well to help with impulse control. Since there are only 1.5% on medication out of 3-5% diagnosed. There could be information on various ADD coaches, medication, books, an ADD buddy, to help encourage, intervene and to be there for the person, and more importantly, not losing their uniqueness.

A major research study done by the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study, which showed that children treated with medication, individually managed behavioral management showed greeted improvement in the community and school. In my own thinking, I feel that if we would start to work with children at a younger age on prevention, and controlled research, they would come to different conclusions on their research.


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