142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Motor Vehicle Crashes among Recent United States Military Veterans: Comparison by Deployment Status

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Kathleen F. Carlson, MS, PhD , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Portland VA Medical Center/Oregon Health and Science University Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Portland, OR
Amii Kress, MPH , Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Health (10P3A), Washington, DC
Lisa McAndrew, PhD , Department of Veterans Affairs, War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center, East Orange, NJ
Aaron Schneiderman, PhD, MPH, RN , Office of Public Health, Epidemiology Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC
BACKGROUND:Returning combat Veterans have about 26% increased risk of fatal motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) within five years following deployment. Little is known about factors associated with this risk.

METHODS: The United States (US) Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a population-based survey of Veterans who deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq from 2001-2008 and a non-deployed comparison group. Respondents completed items about military service, war-related illnesses, risk behaviors, and health, including MVCs and their characteristics. We compared prevalence of MVCs and estimated associations between exposures of interest and MVC risk for deployed vs. non-deployed Veterans. Logistic regression was used to compute adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) while weighting to represent the population.

RESULTS: In total, 34% (20,563/60,000) of sampled Veterans participated. Over 39% endorsed having had a MVC in the US since 2001; 88% were involved as drivers and 8% were riding a motorcycle. MVC prevalence was similar for deployed (38%) and non-deployed (42%) Veterans, as were proportions riding motorcycles, speeding, or driving under the influence. Also comparable between groups, odds of MVC were associated with probable traumatic brain injury (aOR=1.4; CI=1.3-1.6), and self-reported diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (aOR=1.2; CI=1.1-1.3), depression (aOR=1.3; CI=1.2-1.4), and migraines (aOR=1.2; CI=1.1-1.4).

CONCLUSIONS: MVCs are prevalent among all recent military Veterans. There was little difference in characteristics of, or risk factors for, MVCs by recent deployment status. Interventions targeting all recent Veterans with the identified mental and physical health problems may help decrease risk.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the risk of motor vehicle crash among recently discharged United States military Veterans. Compare frequencies and characteristics of motor vehicle crashes between deployed and non-deployed Veterans. Identify potential risk factors for motor vehicle crashes among deployed and non-deployed Veterans.

Keyword(s): Motor Vehicles, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am trained in public health and injury prevention with more than 10 years' experience conducting public health research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.