Background: Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for service personnel from the United Kingdom (UK). Little is known about the pattern of risky driving by these service personnel.
Methods: Cross-sectional data (collected postdeployment, between June 2004 and March 2006) were analyzed from a large, randomly selected cohort of military personnel from the UK. These analyses were limited to regular-service personnel who were drivers (n=8,127; 7,443 men and 684 women). "Risky driving" (not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, or both) was examined. Analyses were then repeated but restricted to those with experience of deployment to Iraq (n=4,611). All analyses were undertaken during 2007.
Results: Nineteen percent of armed forces personnel from the UK were defined as risky drivers. Risky driving was associated with being of young age; being male; being in the Army; childhood adversity; being deployed to Iraq; having a combat role; and being separated, divorced, or widowed. Restricting analyses to those deployed to Iraq revealed that risky driving was associated with increasing exposure to traumatic events and low in-theater morale.
Conclusions: There are clear sociodemographic associations of risk-taking behaviors in the military population, and the study's results imply that risky driving is more common in drivers who had deployed.