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October 2013

Are We Doing Enough to Prevent the Perfect Storm?Novice Drivers, ADHD, and Distracted Driving

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2Division of General Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 3Leonard David Institute for Health Economics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 4School of Nursing, Center for Health Equity Research, Center for Global Women’s Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 5Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research Division, Public Policy Center, Injury Prevention Research Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(10):892-894. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2315

Motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States, pose a major public health threat for teen drivers, their passengers, and others on the road.1 Yet only one implemented intervention has proven effective in reducing fatal teen crashes—3-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems.2 Recognizing that the first 6 months of solo driving pose the highest crash risk, GDL restricts new drivers to lower risk driving situations, progressively allowing increased exposure to higher risk situations with experience. Substantial and sustained reductions in teen deaths have been realized by the states that have instituted GDL, but GDL alone is not sufficient to address the epidemic of teen crashes. Some teen drivers possess characteristics (eg, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]) and/or perform risky driving behaviors (eg, texting while driving) that could put them at heightened risk for the perfect storm, a serious crash. There is an urgent health need to build on the foundation of GDL with additional effective interventions to reduce teen driver crashes.

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