A study published in JAMA Psychiatry has researched the crash histories of more than 2.3 million drivers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and its conclusions are something that everyone in Virginia should know about. ADHD is typified by short attention spans and impulsivity, so it may make people more liable to text, talk on the phone or do other distracting things while driving.
The study helped find out how effective ADHD medication is in preventing car crashes. Researchers found that 1.9 million out of the 2.3 million drivers received prescriptions at one point and that between 2005 and 2014, there were 11,224 cases of ADHD patients visiting the emergency room after a car accident. Comparing the months when prescriptions were filled to the months when they weren’t, they discovered a lower crash risk in the former. The study estimates that up to 22.1 percent of crashes can be prevented through ADHD medication.
The authors of the study acknowledged some limitations: For example, the study excluded fatal collisions and minor collisions requiring no medical attention, and it assumed that those who got a prescription actually took the medication. Experts warned against over-reliance on medication. For those with mild ADHD symptoms, medication may be unnecessary after childhood, and symptoms could recede naturally as young people feel less anxiety about driving.
One problem with medication is that it could have a rebound effect when it wears off. This can sometimes be a major factor in car accidents. Those who are injured by drivers with ADHD may be able to consult a lawyer to see if distracted driving was the cause; if so, they might be eligible for a settlement. A lawyer may be able to have investigators find proof to build up the claim before negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company.