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Developmental Disabilities and Driving

CHOP's Teen Driver Safety Research team is currently conducting rigorous research on adolescents with developmental disabilities to examine their rates of licensure and risk of crashing to help establish the epidemiologic foundation for future translational research. Two-thirds of high functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of legal driving age are either currently driving or plan to drive, according to previous research conducted at CHOP.

This unique program of research on developmental disabilities and driving is led by Allison E. Curry, PhD, MPH, a senior scientist and director of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at CHOP and a faculty member at the Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania's Master of Public Health program. Her research involves linking data from two sources: 1.) electronic health records for over 114,000 CHOP patients born between 1987 and 1995 in NJ, and 2.) the New Jersey Traffic Safety Outcomes Program database, a rich unique database that includes the full licensing, citation, and crash history of every NJ driver. The research is being conducted in collaboration with The Center for Autism Research at CHOP and The Center for Management of ADHD at CHOP.

  • Examination of Driving Outcomes Among Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder This study published in the journal Autism found one in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) acquires an intermediate driver’s license, and the majority does so in their 17th year. The vast majority of teens with ASD who receive a learner’s permit goes on to receive their license within two years after becoming eligible, suggesting that families are making the decision of whether their children with ASD will learn to drive and pursue a license before getting behind the wheel with a learner's permit.

    Researchers conducted a unique linkage of more than 52,000 electronic health records (EHR) of children born from 1987 to 1995 and NJ driver licensing data to determine current rates and patterns of licensure among adolescents with ASD (without intellectual disability) and those without ASD. This is the first large-scale study to provide detailed information on the number of adolescents with ASD who are licensed and the rate at which they progress through the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system. Nearly 90 percent of learner's permit holders with ASD received an intermediate license within two years, at a median rate of 9.2 months later than other teens.

    This study provides evidence to support the development of interventions to meet the unique needs of adolescents with ASD who want to drive.


Read a blog post about the research
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Read the study abstract
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Watch a Medscape video about what clinicians should know.

Longitudinal Study of Adverse Driving Outcomes Among Adolescents With ADHD
Although previous research suggests that adolescents and young adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are at heightened risk of crashing, we still know little about the specific mechanisms by which ADHD influences crash risk. This groundbreaking study will be the largest and first truly longitudinal study focused on examining the risk of unsafe behaviors (via citations) and crashes throughout adolescence and young adulthood (ages 16-25) among a general population of children diagnosed with ADHD. This study will provide the evidence base needed to inform the development of medical, behavioral, and technological interventions and support CHOP's long-term goal of developing tailored interventions to ensure safe driving behaviors among teens with ADHD.

This research is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health & Development and a CHOP Foerderer Grant for Excellence.

This research is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health & Development and a CHOP Foerderer Grant for Excellence - See more at: http://www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/developmental_disabilities_and_driving/researcher#sthash.VnZ1hcoj.dpuf

    For more information on this research, please contact Allison Curry, PhD, MPH at (215) 590-3118 or currya@email.chop.edu.

    This research was supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm®).

    - See more at: http://www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/chop_young_driver_research_gdl_compliance_and_enforcement/researcher#sthash.vGuIdOo3.dpuf

    For more information on this research, please contact Allison Curry, PhD, MPH at (215) 590-3118 or currya@email.chop.edu.

    This research was supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm®).

    - See more at: http://www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/chop_young_driver_research_gdl_compliance_and_enforcement/researcher#sthash.vGuIdOo3.dpuf

    For more information on this research, please contact Allison Curry, PhD, MPH at (215) 590-3118 or currya@email.chop.edu.

    This research was supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm®).

    - See more at: http://www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/chop_young_driver_research_gdl_compliance_and_enforcement/researcher#sthash.2NFR9oXa.dpuf

    For more information on this research, please contact Allison Curry, PhD, MPH at (215) 590-3118 or currya@email.chop.edu.

    This research was supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm®).

    - See more at: http://www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/chop_young_driver_research_gdl_compliance_and_enforcement/researcher#sthash.2NFR9oXa.dpuf

developmental_disabilities_and_driving_research

For more information on this research, please contact Dr. Curry at (215) 590-3118 or currya@email.chop.edu.

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