Study: Returning soldiers at higher risk for accidents

April 25, 2012 12:00 AM

A new report indicates that soldiers are at an increased risk for car accidents after returning home from deployment, according to USA Today.

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) recently analyzed insurance claim data for soldiers both before and after they had left for tours of duty. Soldiers coming home were 13 percent more likely to be in an accident than before they left, according to the data. This was broken down further by military branch: Army veterans rose 23 percent, Marines were up 12.5 percent, Navy sailors increased 3 percent and Air Force members rose 2 percent.

Erica Stern, an associate professor in occupational therapy at the University of Minnesota, does not know the methods behind the USAA study. However, Stern has done previous research into soldiers' driving tendencies, and has found that it may not be linked to post-traumatic stress, as many believe.

"We look at this as a reasonable carryover of ingrained maneuvers and anxieties. These are things that kept people alive," she told the news source. "When they were deployed, they became targets if they were stopped."

While driving behavior can cause an accident, mechanical flaws can be at fault too. This is why its important that all drivers keep up with their vehicles scheduled maintenance plan and take care of any auto repairs that arise.

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