VETERANS FACE DRIVING CHALLENGES

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By Lori Abbott, California News Service

November12, 2012 (San Diego)--Many military veterans are facing challenges behind the wheel. In fact, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for military personnel in their first year after returning home from war. And USAA insurance says service members were involved in at-fault accidents 13 percent more often after deployments.



AARP is trying to change that, says Christina Clem, a spokeswoman for AARP-California.

"It's not clear why veterans are more prone to accidents than their non-military peers. Most experts agree that it has to do with the stress and trauma that they experienced while they were deployed."

Clem says that's one reason why AARP is offering veterans and their families discounts on the organization's Driver Safety course through the end of the month. She says the course has already helped more than 14 million drivers learn defensive driving skills and review the rules of the road.

The class goes over such basics as the three-second following rule and where to put your hands on the wheel. It also covers new technology that's becoming more standard in all vehicles, says Clem. 

"That's one of the things that is the most popular in our classes lately. You know, we have adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems, and rear view back-up cameras."

AARP Driver Safety offered the veterans promotion for the first time last year, and nearly 40,000 vets took the course.

"There's a lot of little things that have come up since a lot of us took our first driver's class that is a refresher and I think a lot of people find it pretty surprising once they leave."

The offer is good through the end of the month. The classroom course is free and the online course is 50 percent off.