Objective: Previous studies have reported that risky driving is associated with deployment and combat exposure in military populations, but there is limited research on risky driving among soldiers in the National Guard and Reserves, a group increasingly deployed to active international conflicts. The goal of this analysis was to assess the prevalence of risky driving and its demographic, mental health, and deployment-related correlates among members of the Ohio Army National Guard (OHARNG).
Methods: The study group comprised 2,616 eligible OHARNG soldiers enlisted as of June 2008, or who enlisted between June 2008 and February 2009. The main outcome of interest was the prevalence of risky driving behavior assessed using six questions: “How often do you use seat belts when you drive or ride in a car?”; “In the past 30 days, how many times have you driven when you've had perhaps too much to drink?”; “In the past year, have you ever become impatient with a slow driver in the fast lane and passed them on the right?”; “In the past year have you crossed an intersection knowing that the traffic lights have already changed from yellow to red?”; “In the past year have you disregarded speed limits late at night or early in the morning?”; and “In the past year have you underestimated the speed of an oncoming vehicle when attempting to pass a vehicle in your own lane?” We fit multiple logistic regression models and derived the adjusted prevalence of risky driving behavior for soldiers with mental health conditions, deployment experience, exposure to combat or trauma, and psychosocial stressors or supports.
Results: The prevalence of risky driving was higher in soldiers with a history of mental health conditions, deployment to a conflict area, deployment-related traumatic events, and combat or post-combat stressors. In contrast, the prevalence of risky driving was lower for soldiers who reported high levels of psychosocial support.
Conclusions: Efforts to mitigate risky driving in military populations may be more effective if they incorporate both targeted messages to remediate dangerous learned driving behaviors and psychosocial interventions to build resilience and address underlying stressors and mental health symptoms.
- mental health
- military medicine
- risky driving
- veterans of war
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety Research
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health