Back to School at

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Driving and ADHD

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

Q: My 15-year-old son has ADHD. He is extremely "spacey" although he does take Ritalin® as well as Zoloft®. Next year he will be eligible to get a learner's permit. I am concerned that he is not attentive enough to be a safe driver. How have other parents handled this? Do you have any recommendations?

A: You have a reason to be concerned. In an article written for the journal Pediatrics in December, 1996, Dr. Russell Barkley, an expert in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and his co-workers presented research indicating that teenagers with ADHD are four times more likely than other kids to have accidents while driving. In addition, they are more likely than other kids to get tickets for speeding and stop-sign violations. They are about seven times more likely to get into two or more crashes, and over four times more likely to be the cause of the accidents they have.

An excellent article on this subject was written for Attention! Magazine by Dr. Marlene Snyder and Rae Hemphill. Snyder and Hemphill discuss the importance of parents establishing rules and expectations for safe driving behavior. They remind us that driving is a privilege -- not a right -- of teens, and that parents need to be certain that their children have sufficient skills and a sense of responsibility before handing over the car keys. Since parents of kids with ADHD are more likely to incur higher insurance rates, the authors give helpful advice on how to get proper insurance protection for your child (and yourself) and offer cost-saving suggestions. Their article also discusses the legal and behavioral implications of teens, like your son, who take prescription medication. You're right to be thinking about this important issue now, before you put your son behind the wheel of a potentially lethal vehicle.

More on: Expert Advice

Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit to sign our petition to save handwriting!