Disruptive behaviour disorders in male teenagers associated with increased risk of road crashes

November 15, 2010

Disruptive behaviour disorders in male teenagers, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder are associated with about a one-third increase in the risk of being seriously injured in a road traffic crash – either as driver or pedestrian. This increase is similar to the increased relative risk found for patients treated for epilepsy.

These are the findings of a study by Donald Redelmeier and colleagues from the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, and published in this week's PLoS Medicine. Male teenagers are the single most risky population group of drivers, with twice the collision rate of the general population, despite low amounts of driving and good general health.

The authors conducted a 7-year study in Ontario, Canada, of consecutive males aged between 16 years and 19 years who were admitted to hospital as the result of a road traffic crash and those who were admitted to the same hospitals during the same time interval for appendicitis. During the study period, 3421 male teenagers were admitted to hospital as the result of a road and 3812 male teenagers were admitted to hospital for appendicitis. A history of disruptive behaviour disorders was more frequent among male teenagers admitted for road traffic crashes than controls (767 of 3421 v 664 of 3812) giving an odds ratio of 1.37. This higher risk was still present after the authors took factors such as age, social status and home location into account.

This study did not document who was "at fault"; hence, perhaps behavioural disorders impair a teenager's ability to avoid a mishap initiated by someone else. The authors stress that their results do not justify withholding a driver's license. Instead, the authors suggest that disruptive behaviour disorders could be considered as contributors to crashes—similar to epilepsy, diabetes, and some other medical diseases. The authors conclude: "Greater attention by primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and community health workers might be helpful since practical recommendations might reduce the risk." Specific recommendations include avoiding excess speed, restricting alcohol, minimizing other distractions as well as using seatbelts, keeping distance from other vehicles, and obeying medical advice.

More information: Redelmeier DA, Chan WK, Lu H (2010) Road Trauma in Teenage Male Youth with Childhood Disruptive Behavior Disorders: A Population Based Analysis. PLoS Med 7(11): e1000369. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000369

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

Exercising and eating well are greater contributors to health than standing at work

November 21, 2017
By now you've probably heard the edict from the health community: Sitting is the new smoking. Perhaps you've converted to a standing desk, or maybe you have a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour and walk around ...

Changes in young people's sexual practices over the last 20 years revealed

November 20, 2017
Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study describes changes in young people's sexual practices using nationally-representative data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), the ...

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.