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Fatal car accidents increase among military veterans

As military service members return home to Bergen County from the war in Iraq, they will likely go through a period of adjustment as they work to reacclimate themselves to the lives they left behind. Often, this includes reconnecting with family and friends and starting or resuming their job. But for some veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and similar afflictions, seemingly simple acts such as driving can be difficult and stressful after a tour of duty.

According to military insurer USAA, the number of car accidents in which troops were at least somewhat at fault increased by 13 percent after service returned from an overseas tour of duty. These crashes were more likely to occur during the first six months after a deployment ended.

Specifically, there were 48 members of the military killed in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. last year. This is the highest military traffic fatality rate in three years, and military officials believe that the increase in post-traumatic stress disorder (or at least the increase in awareness of it) is at least partially responsible.

Researchers also found that veterans who served in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were more likely to be involved in accidents or report difficulty driving after a deployment than veterans of other wars. This is because of the common hazard of roadside bombs that was a constant threat throughout many troops' tours of duty in the most recent conflicts.

If a member of your family has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation with an attorney.

Source: New York Times, "Back From War, Fear and Danger Fill Driver's Seat," James Dao, Jan. 10, 2012

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