Our military vets have been through it all. They have faced combat, life and death, and witnessed visions a civilian could not even conjure up in their worst nightmare. But after surviving the battlefield, military veterans come home to face another war – surviving the roads. Shockingly traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for military personnel in their first year after returning home from battle.
“It troubles me to tell you that once you get them home safely, they are coming home to risk of death and injury on our roadways.” – Ronald Medford, deputy administration for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
So why is this occurring? Apparently once a soldier survives the battlefield, they come home with this feeling of invincibility leading them to speed, not wear seatbelts or helmets, and engage in other risky driving behaviors. Also they may come back with PTSD or looking for ways to cope with their war horrors by abusing alcohol and getting on the road drunk. Others may be continually living the threats they endured during war by always being on the lookout for explosives in their path or other battle scenarios thinking that these dangers lurk while driving in the U.S. causing them extreme stress. If normal post-war stress is not the cause, those that suffered head injuries, and sometimes undetected or untreated head injuries, may not be aware of their risky driving.
While this statistic applies to all returning vets, the most vulnerable to engaging in risky driving behaviors are more often young, unmarried males that were in the roles of infantry, gun crews, or seamanship. These individuals see some of worst action in battle and the images and horrific events just haunt them.
Many military families are not aware of this commonality among returning vets and need to be aware of the behaviors or warning signs to keep their loved ones safe on the roads. If you witness your returning soldier being risky behind the wheel, you should get them help before they become a danger to themselves or to others on the road. The Veteran’s Administration would be a great place to start as they offer programs to help them cope with their return to civilian life.
Also, the Veteran’s Administration, Department of Transportation, and Department of Defense are taking this very seriously and are working to increase awareness of the increased risk of car crashes for returning vets to military families and mental health professionals. Vets are also being offered driver re-training when they return home.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Ft. Belvoir or Quantico, Virginia, order this Free consumer guide for accident victims in Virginia. It’s packed with useful information the insurance companies don’t want you to know. If you have questions about your case, contact Parrish Law Firm, PLLC today for a FREE evaluation (571) 206-0215.
- AOL Autos – Tragedy On Wheels: Why Returning Vets Are In Frequent Car Crashes – They’re trained to drive aggressively when in Iraq and Afghanistan, but put themselves at risk when they get home
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans’ Safe Driving Initiative