Distracted Driving in Teens With and Without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Academic Article


  • © 2015 . This study is among the first to examine the effect of talking on a cell phone or text messaging while driving in teens with and without attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Method: Teens (average age 17 years) with a diagnosis of ADHD (N= 16) were matched with typically developing controls (N= 18). All participants operated a driving simulator while (1) conversing on a cell phone, (2) text messaging, and (3) with no distraction during a baseline condition. Six indicators of driving performance were recorded: (a) time to complete the drive; (b) lane deviations; (c) variability in lane position (i.e., root mean square [RMS]); (d) reaction time; (e) motor vehicle collisions; and, (f) speed fluctuation. Results: Significantly greater variation in lane position occurred in the texting task compared to no task and the cell phone task. While texting, in particular, teens with ADHD took significantly less time to complete the scenario. No significant main effects of group were found. Conclusions: Generally, those with ADHD did not differ in regard to driving performance, when compared to controls, with the exception of one outcome: time to complete scenario. These findings suggest that distracted driving impairs driving performance of teen drivers, regardless of ADHD status. Texting while driving had the greatest negative impact on driving performance, particularly with regard to variability in lane position (i.e., RMS). This study sheds light on key issues regarding injury prevention, with the intent of providing pediatric care providers with the knowledge to inform teen drivers of risks associated with distracted driving which will ultimately result in reduced rates of motor vehicle crashes and concomitant injuries.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 11781336
  • Author List

  • Stavrinos D; Garner AA; Franklin CA; Johnson HD; Welburn SC; Griffin R; Underhill AT; Fine PR
  • Start Page

  • e183
  • End Page

  • e191
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 5