A recent study has revealed that soldiers returning from duty overseas have 13 percent more car-crashes in the first six months of returning home as compared to six months prior their departure. They are at fault in all the accidents reported.
This is attributed to soldiers continuing to use driving styles used on the streets of Kabul or Baghdad on suburban roads back home. The study was conducted by USAA, a leading insurer catering primarily to personnel in Armed Forces and their families.
In all, the company had 8.8 million members from different branches of the military forces at the end of 2011. Approximately 158,000 personnel who undertook almost 171,000 deployments in a span of three years ending Feb2010 were studied when war still raged in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The results were much more pronounced in case of personnel from the Army and Marines. Their accident rates averaged 23 percent and 12.5 percent respectively. Accident rates of personnel from Navy and Air-Force were up by three percent and two percent respectively.
Researchers found that “objects on road” caused most accidents given the fact that these combatants had encountered many road-side obstacles and improvised explosive devices-IEDs in the war-zone. The study correlated number of deployments of a soldier to rise in accident rates. Personnel deployed three or more times reported 36 percent more incidents; personnel deployed twice reported 27 percent more and those deployed once reported 12 percent more incidents.
The study also correlated age and rank of personnel in the forces with accident rates. Soldiers aged 22 and below were involved in more accidents than those aged 29 and above. The more senior the soldier in the service ranks, lesser the number of accidents on road.
The findings were forwarded to safety center commands in each branch of the military force. The information has also been shared with academics and traffic safety experts. USAA has taken adequate steps to ensure that its members are aware of the risks they face while being behind-the –wheels on returning home.
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