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Simulated Driving Program Reduces Crash Risk For Teens With ADHD In Small Study

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A program that combines computer-based and driving simulator training may reduce the rates of crashes and near-crashes among teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a recent small study. Teenagers who participated in training designed to reduce the number of long-sighted away from the road had a nearly 40 percent lower risk of crashing or near-crashing than a similar group that did not receive training.

The study was conducted by Jeffery N. Epstein, MD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues.it appears in New England Journal of Medicine.

ADHD refers to persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interfere with function or development.Teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than other drivers collision as an adult driver, and teenager People with ADHD are twice as likely to be involved in a car accident than normal teenagers. A big factor in this higher risk of crashes is that teenage drivers — especially those with ADHD — take their eyes off the road for extended periods of time while distracted. Driving simulators teach teens to distract by repeated short glances rather than long ones.

The simulation, called Focused Attention Learning (FOCAL), is a computer-based program that teaches neurotypical teen driver Limit prolonged sight away roadwayIn this study, the researchers augmented this training by adding a driving simulator that provides immediate feedback on long-duration saccades, called joint training FOCAL+.

A total of 152 adolescents participated in the study. Seventy-six adolescents trained in FOCAL+ participated in five sessions of computer- and console-based driving simulator training. During computer training, teens were shown a horizontally split screen. The top screen shows the driver’s view of the road, and the bottom half shows a map. Participants were shown a street name and told to press the space bar and identify the street on a map. When the space bar is pressed, the map fills the screen and the road is no longer visible. Press the spacebar again to restore the map. Switching between the two represents multitasking while driving. When only the map is displayed for more than three seconds, the alarm sounds. In subsequent trials, the alarm sounded after two seconds.

During subsequent driving simulator training, participants sit in front of a console, steering wheel and pedal and drive on simulated roads. Participants wore specialized glasses to track eye and head movements. During simulated driving, they had to identify the number of random symbols on the dashboard. If they take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds, an alarm will sound. Participants with low scores repeated the simulated drive until their scores improved.

Seventy-six young adults assigned to a control group received a driver safety instruction program on a computer, followed by a street and sign search in a driving simulator without alerts.

Both groups are in driving simulator One month after completing the course. The FOCAL+ group had an average of 16.52 long eyes (duration over 2 seconds), and the control group had 28.05 long eyes. After six months of training, the FOCAL+ group had 15.7 long eyes, and the control group had 27 long eyes.

After completing the training, participants’ vehicles were fitted with cameras in the rearview mirrors. One camera faces the driver and the other faces the road. Over the course of a year of driving, the FOCAL+ group saw 76 percent less than the control group. Additionally, the crash and near-miss rate was 3.4% in the FOCAL+ group compared to 5.6% in the FOCAL+ group control groupequivalent to a nearly 40% reduction in crashes and near-misses in the FOCAL+ group.

The authors concluded that FOCAL+ could reduce long glances and road crashes and near-crashes in adolescents with ADHD.

More information:
Epstein JN et al. A training trial to reduce inattention in adolescent drivers with ADHD, New England Journal of Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2204783. www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2204783

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Simulated driving program reduces crash risk in teens with ADHD in small study (2022, Nov. 30)
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