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Combat-area driving style makes some vets crash risks back home

Add bad driving habits to the list of ill effects suffered by some military personnel upon their return from tours of duty in combat areas. A new study has revealed that soldiers from Ohio and all other states across the nation face a heightened risk of being involved in a car accident after returning from overseas service compared to their accident risk prior to their active military service.

Overall, military personnel are 13 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident in the first six months after returning from their military service. Incident rates were highest among Army personnel, who were 23 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident, followed by Marines at 12.5 percent, Navy personnel at three percent and Air Force airmen at two percent.

Car crash experts note that the study evaluated insurance policy information for 158,000 military personnel who were deployed over the course of a three-year period from January 2007 to February 2010. Researchers noted that accident rates were influenced by the number of tours of duty served. as well as the length of the deployments.

The study found that driving habits adopted during active military duty, presumably as measures to stay safe in hazardous territories, were maintained by many soldiers when they returned home. For example, some veterans would swerve to avoid potholes or speed up going through tunnels in anticipation of ambush attacks or other anti-military devices.

The study also determined a correlation between higher accident rates and lower ages of the soldiers, as well as a finding that lower-ranked personnel were involved in more accidents.

Source: Reuters, “Returning soldiers have more car crashes: study,” Ben Berkowitz, April 24, 2012