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Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA; Miriam Monahan MS, OTR/L, CDRS; Kiah Brown BHS


Adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an increased risk for committing traffic violations, and they are four times more likely than neurotypical peers to be crash involved, making them a potentially high risk group for driving. We used a two-group design to measure differences in demographics, clinical off-road tests, and fitness to drive abilities in a driving simulator with nine adolescents with ADHD (mean age = 15.00, SD ± 1.00) compared to 22 healthy controls (HC) (mean age = 14.32, SD ±..716), as evaluated by an Occupational Therapist Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (OT-CDRS). Despite few demographic differences, the adolescents with ADHD performed worse than the HC on tests of right visual acuity (F = 5.92, p = .036), right peripheral field (F = 6.85, p = .019), selective attention (U = 53.00, p = .046), and motor coordination (U = 53.00, p = .046). The ADHD group made more visual scanning (U = 52.50, p = .041), speed regulation (U = 28.00, p = .001), and total driving errors (U = 32.50, p = .003) on the simulator. Adolescents with ADHD performed worse on tests measuring visual, cognitive, motor, and pre-driving skills, and on a driving simulator. They may require the services of an OT-CDRS to determine their fitness to drive abilities prior to referring them for driver’s education.