A recent study completed by USAA Property and & Casualty Insurance Group found that returning veterans are more likely to be involved in a car accident than they were prior to deployment. The USAA study is in line with other research showing that veterans are more likely to be involved in car accidents than the general population.
USAA is a major insurer of military families and was able to look at its claims database to examine the car accident history of about 158,000 veterans that went on 171,000 deployments.
The three year study looked at the driving habits of the veterans six months before and after deployment. Overall, returning veterans showed a 13 percent increase in at-fault crashes upon returning from deployment.
The underlying reasons for veteran car accidents vary and include traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and military training.
“Things like obeying traffic signals and coming to a full and complete stop – those aren’t good in a war zone,” one public health professor told the Los Angeles Times. “Moving targets are harder to hit.”
Not all veterans are equally likely to be involved in a car accident however. Navy veterans only saw a three percent increase in at-fault accidents and air Force veterans only had a two percent increase in crashes. Marines experienced a 12.5 percent increase in at-fault crashes and Army veterans saw a 23 percent jump in at-fault accidents.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Troops back from deployment more likely to cause car accidents,” Jerry Hirsch, April 24, 2012