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Soldiers More Apt to Get into Car Accidents at Home After Deployments

Creatas/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) -- Overseas duty appears to affect the driving behavior of returning military personnel, making these motorists more careless on the roads, according to a survey by a major insurer of the armed forces and their families.

The USAA survey reveals that war veterans have gotten into 13 percent more accidents at which they’re at fault during their first six months back home compared to the six months prior to their deployment.

By and large, U.S. Army and Marine members who learned to drive aggressively in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid roadside bombs known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were more prone to drive similarly once they returned to the states, experiencing higher accidents rates of 23 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

In contrast, the traffic accident rates of Navy members only rose three percent while accidents went up two percent for Air Force vets.

USAA also discovered that higher accident rates were directly related to a higher number of deployments.  Service members with three or more overseas tours were involved in 36 percent more accidents.  That number shrunk to 27 percent for two deployments and fell to 12 percent when a soldier was deployed only once.

Meanwhile, soldiers 22-years-old or younger were more prone to get into car accidents than those 29 or older.  Also, the higher the rank of the soldier, the lower the incidence of mishaps on the road.

USAA made its findings based on 158,000 members covering 171,000 deployments from February 2007 until February 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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