Longitudinal study of driver licensing rates among adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.

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TitleLongitudinal study of driver licensing rates among adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCurry, AE, Yerys, BE, Huang, P, Metzger, KB
Date Published2018 05
KeywordsAdolescent, Age Factors, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Automobile Driver Examination, Automobile Driving, Case-Control Studies, Female, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Longitudinal Studies, Male, New Jersey, Young Adult

Driving may increase mobility and independence for adolescents with autism without intellectual disability (autism spectrum disorder); however, little is known about rates of licensure. To compare the proportion of adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder who acquire a learner's permit and driver's license, as well as the rate at which they progress through the licensing system, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of 52,172 New Jersey residents born in the years 1987-1995 who were patients of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia healthcare network ⩾12 years of age; 609 (1.2%) had an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Electronic health records were linked to New Jersey's driver licensing database (2004-2012). Kaplan-Meier curves and log-binomial regression models were used to determine the age at and rate of licensure, and estimate adjusted risk ratios. One in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder acquired a driver's license versus 83.5% for other adolescents and at a median of 9.2 months later. The vast majority (89.7%) of those with autism spectrum disorder who acquired a permit and were fully eligible to get licensed acquired a license within 2 years. Results indicated that a substantial proportion of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder do get licensed and that license-related decisions are primarily made prior to acquisition of a permit instead of during the learning-to-drive process.

Alternate JournalAutism
PubMed ID28374599
PubMed Central IDPMC5767541
Grant ListR01 HD079398 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U54 HD086984 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States