ADHD medication might lower car accident risk

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may pose special risks when it comes to driving, but people with ADHD might reduce the risks by taking medication. According to research published by JAMA Psychiatry, as many as 22.1 percent of car accidents involving ADHD patients may have been avoided if the patients had been taking proper medication.

Previous research has indicated that people with ADHD are involved in more car accidents than those who do not have ADHD. The symptoms of the disorder may include hyperactivity, lessened impulse control and an inability to pay steady attention. People with ADHD are more likely to excessively chatter, fidget or tap their fingers or feet. These symptoms can interfere with the person's ability to drive safely, according to a Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics researcher at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet.

The Swedish researcher was the lead author of the JAMA Psychiatry research study, which used health insurance records to identify more than 2.3 million Americans with ADHD and cross-referenced these with emergency room data. The study found 11,224 people with ADHD who had been to an emergency room due to a car crash from 2005 to 2014. It also made use of a control group of people who were matched in sex and age with the ADHD group, but who did not have ADHD, and found that those who had ADHD were more likely to be involved in car accidents than the control group.

The study acknowledged some of its own potential shortcomings, including the fact that minor accidents were not included because they do not require emergency room visits. Individuals who are hurt in car accidents might be entitled to recovery for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages or other damages. A lawyer with experience in personal injury law might be able to help injured parties by negotiating a settlement with at-fault drivers and their insurers or by gathering evidence and putting together a case in anticipation of trial.

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