(HealthDay News) – Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for negative driving outcomes, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Megan Narad, from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues examined the combined risks of adolescence, ADHD, and distracted driving on driving performance in 28 adolescents (aged 16–17 years old) with ADHD and 33 without ADHD as they participated in a simulated drive. During each simulation condition (no distraction, cell phone conversation, and texting) an unexpected event was introduced such as another car suddenly merging into the driver’s lane.

The researchers found that, compared with controls, participants with ADHD reported fewer months of driving experience and a higher proportion of driving violations. Adolescents with ADHD demonstrated more variability in speed and lane position than control subjects, when controlling for months of driving history. Braking reaction time was not different between the groups. Texting negatively impacted all participants’ driving performance as indicated by increased variability in speed and lane position.

“In conclusion, this study clearly demonstrates that both an ADHD diagnosis and texting while driving present serious risks to the driving performance of adolescents,” the authors write. “There is a clear need for policy and/or intervention efforts to address these risks.”

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