By now nearly all of us understand that veterans deserve our respect and our admiration for their courage and their willingness to go into places around the world that no one else would dare enter, let alone enter to fight. Society at large has been very receptive to military veterans in recent years, and that’s a cultural change that’s extremely positive when compared to how some veterans were treated a few generations ago. However, that doesn’t mean that we should overlook potential problems that veterans could be facing, especially those that lead to danger for both themselves and for others.
One such danger was recently revealed and it came as quite a surprise to most people. An official with the Department of Veterans Affairs has recently completed a statistical study that looked at the likelihood that military veterans have a higher risk of being involved in fatal car accidents. That study found that male veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan have a 76-percent higher chance of getting into a fatal crash than civilians and that female veterans have a 43-percent higher chance of meeting the same fate. These numbers were compiled from crashes that occurred between 1999 and 2012, and the study has yet to be fully released.
As one would expect, these numbers were met with a high level of surprise. Most people assume that military veterans would have an easy time with driving in traffic considering the conditions they endured while they were off in a combat zone for months if not years at a time. Most would also assume that any stress that civilians would encounter while driving would likely not even be noticed by veterans who became accustomed to fighting for their lives on a daily basis. However, those realities may actually be working against veterans.
Members of the military who drove vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan likely developed driving habits that are not conducive to driving in the relatively regulated world of the roads in the United States. In addition, many veterans are no longer used to wearing seatbelts, as doing so in combat could actually hinder an escape. Finally, many veterans are also coming home with traumatic brain injuries and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and these conditions make it much more difficult to handle a moving vehicle, especially in conditions of heavy traffic.
Sadly, this is a very new phenomenon that has been discovered and no real plan has yet been put in place that will provide veterans who may struggle with driving with an opportunity to get past it. Hopefully something comes together soon so that lives can be saved and veterans can enjoy the rest of their lives in the civilian world. The Las Vegas accident lawyers at the Sam Harding Law Firm have been representing people who were injured in crashes for many years, and we know what it’s like to see families suddenly grieving the loss of a loved one. We hope a solution is identified soon.