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Medication can cut accident risk for drivers with ADHD

For drivers in South Carolina with ADHD, medication can make a substantial difference in lowering the risk of auto accidents while on the road. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that car crashes occur significantly less frequently among ADHD patients taking medication than among those who do not. The study included more than 2.3 million people.

Male patients taking medication had their risk of auto accidents reduced by 38 percent, while female ADHD patients taking medication had a 42 percent lower risk of car crashes. In prior studies, people with ADHD were shown to have a higher number of auto crashes. ADHD can include inattentive symptoms, limited impulse control or hyperactivity. Some of these symptoms can interfere with concentration while on the road.

If people with ADHD find it difficult to pay attention to the road, they may be more likely to drive with distractions, which can also escalate the risk of auto accidents. The authors of the study noted that up to 22 percent of the accidents involved could have been prevented if the ADHD patients received medication for their disorder, labeling these crashes a preventable cause of death and injury for those drivers and others on the road.

The researchers looked at 10 years of health insurance claims for people with ADHD and a control group without the disorder. They found that people with ADHD had an overall higher risk of getting into a car accident but that medication substantially decreased that risk. Only some of the accidents, however, may have involved distracted driving; no calculation of fault was involved in the data studied.

Distracted driving can be a real danger to occupants of other vehicles. People who have been injured due to another motorist who was texting while driving or browsing a smartphone might want to avail themselves of legal assistance when attempting to obtain compensation for their medical bills and other losses.

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