Friday, October 14, 2011
Car Accidents Leading Cause of Death for Veterans Recently Returned Home
Car Accidents. According to Karen Cutright, program manager for the Veterans Administration (VA), car accidents claim more veteran lives in their first year home from combat than any other cause. And the ones who die tend to be young, single males "from the infantry ranks, or on gun crews or in seamanship roles."
It isn't exactly news that veterans returning from combat tend to be riskier drivers. Those returning from Vietnam were 50% more likely to die in car accidents than the general population. Gulf War veterans were 30-50% more likely. But now, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are 75% more likely to die in car accidents than non-veterans.
"A 2009 Army study showed that while deployed, 50% of soldiers said they were anxious when other cars approached quickly, 23% had driven through stop signs, and 20% were anxious during normal driving."
Another cause of reckless driving could be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). When soldiers are cleared to come back home, they may be suffering from these "invisible" injuries, but it doesn't mean they aren't affected. Drivers may not realize their driving is impaired since they don't recognize the mistakes they could be making.