Car crash numbers show the stress of combat.
I know I faced it as does every person who returns from the stress and strain of life in a war zone. Your mind and body changes and only the ones who have been there know. You adapt to a life style that keeps you alive, you improvise and over come. You live on the edge of fatigue both mind and body. You change in ways that you never know and sometimes never understand. All the debriefings in the world can’t snap you out of it, only time can do that. All of us live in a world unbeknown to anyone who hasn’t been there, we are Combat Veterans.
In a study released back in April by USAA found that U.S. Military personnel have 13% more accidents that are their fault in the first six months they are home. This doesn’t surprise me a bit; I thought it would be higher than that.
In many cases, USAA found, soldiers took the driving style that kept them alive on the streets of Baghdad and Kabul and applied it to the suburban roads at home.
The results were most dramatic for returning members of the Army and Marines, whose accident rates rose 23 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. (Rates were up 3 percent for the Navy and 2 percent for the Air Force).
Not surprisingly, given the experience many soldiers had with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other roadside obstacles in combat zones, USAA found “objects in the road” to be the most cited of the 13 accident causes it studied.
The insurer also found a direct correlation between the number of deployments and the rate of accidents — those deployed three or more times had 36 percent more incidents, those deployed twice had 27 percent more and those deployed only once had 12 percent more accidents. A 2009 military study found that, since 2001, deployments for reservists had averaged from 8 to 14 months in duration.
There was also correlation by age (soldiers under 22 were involved in more wrecks than those over 29) and by rank (the more senior a soldier the lower the number of accidents).
“USAA has shared its research with each military branch’s safety center commanders. USAA has also shared the study with academics and traffic safety experts and has taken steps to make USAA members aware of the behind-the-wheel risks for returning troops,” the company, which had 8.8 million members as of the end of 2011, said in the report.
The Army’s Office of Public Affairs declined to comment on the results of the study, saying it was the company’s research project and not the government’s.
The USAA survey adds to the growing body of data on the psychological and physical effects of deployment to war zones.
The U.S. Army said in January that violent sex crimes committed by active-duty soldiers have almost doubled over the last five years, due in part to the trauma of war. In March, Army researchers said one in five soldiers returning from Afghanistan or Iraq after a concussion develop chronic headaches. (Reuters) (Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; editing by Gunna Dickson)
As you see in this report the stress of combat takes its toll on our service members. I just wonder what the numbers would have been after WWII, Korea or Viet Nam. I just wish the government would get busy with VA claims, they have been slowed in the past 3 years.