Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Teen Drivers with ADD a Problem on the Road

"It was hard to miss the bright yellow Student Driver bumper sticker on the back of the car driven by Tosha Mulligan.

Getting a driver's license is a rite of passage for many teenagers, but the process was a bit more challenging for 19-year-old Mulligan of Acworth, Georgia. She has attention deficit disorder.

When she gets behind the wheel, she said, 'Sometimes my mind wanders off.'

She's not alone. Researchers reported driving can be a serious problem for teens with ADD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Motor vehicle accidents already are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Experts such as Russell Barkley say ADD and ADHD compound the problem.

Barkley, a psychiatry professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, is a widely recognized expert on ADD and driving. He has investigated the topic for 15 years and conducted a half-dozen studies, some of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Teen drivers with ADD or ADHD 'are impulsive, highly distractible and clumsy, can't pay attention to the roadway and they get bored easily,' he said."

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