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New Jersey vets at increased risk for car accident injuries

We have covered many serious car accidents in previous posts. There are many causes of fatal car accidents and it is not surprising that certain drivers are at an increased risk for being involved in car accidents than others. Typically teen drivers are among the least safe drivers because of their inexperience. A surprising fact to most people is that in addition to teen drivers, returning veterans are also at elevated risk for being involved in car accident. In fact, some vets are up to twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes than non-veterans.

Veterans of the Vietnam War are twice as likely to die in car accidents than non-veterans. Returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are 75 percent more likely to die in a crash and Gulf War veterans are up to 50 percent more likely to die in a car accident than non-veterans.

There are many causes of veteran accidents including the way that veterans are taught to drive in war zones and the risk tolerance that the war zone can produce.

“When they come back, driving is hard. They think they’re invincible. They’ve gone through combat, they think they can live through anything,” said one traffic safety expert. “The bottom line is, these men and women are taught to drive in Iraq and Afghanistan like madmen.”

Veterans are also more likely to have emotional issues such as anxiety while driving and also tend to abuse alcohol more often than the general population. The Veterans Administration has teamed up with the Transportation Department and the Defense Department to raise awareness of the problem of veteran car accidents and to encourage veterans to slow down and wear seat belts upon returning to civilian life.

Source: AOL News, “Tragedy On Wheels: Why Returning Vets Are In Frequent Car Crashes,” Sharon Silke Carty, Oct. 13, 2011

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