Commentary: Reckless driving tarnishes Army values
September 11, 2009
Yesterday, I drove home on Kunia Road, following a line of cars down the narrow, two-lane road. Suddenly, a motorcyclist came speeding past me from behind, flying around four cars in a "No Passing" zone and barely making it back into his lane to avoid a head-on collision with oncoming traffic.
It happened too fast for me to see his license plate number, but what I did see were his ACUs (Army Combat Uniform) and desert boots. He was wearing his safety equipment (helmet and reflective vest), he was clearly a Soldier, and his antics put a least six lives at risk, including his own.
He gave the Army a very bad name.
Last week, while driving down Fort Weaver Road, a wide six-lane, divided highway, I was approaching an intersection in the middle lane as the traffic light turned to yellow. I slowed to stop, but the car next to me, in the outside lane, sped-up and drove through the yellow light.
A motorcyclist behind that car - again a Soldier in ACUs - barreled across the intersection, running the red light, just missing two pedestrians stepping off the curb to cross the street. A split second later, he could have hit and killed both of them.
Two weeks ago, four motorcyclists heading up Kunia Road dodged and weaved in and around a column of cars on the narrow road. They weren't in uniform, but all four turned into Schofield's Lyman Gate.
Motorcycles are the number one killer of our Soldiers in Hawaii. In the past two years, we've sadly sustained seven motorcycle deaths and had 29 other motorcycle accidents with serious injuries.
Our Army leadership continues to stress the importance of motorcycle safety, and the garrison has recently introduced the Army's first-ever "Train as you Ride" motorcycle safety course. But all the safety equipment and training can't compensate for careless and reckless motorcycle driving by our Soldiers.
What kind of message does this driving send to the civilian community'
To all Soldiers who ride motorcycles, please remember that you are visible symbols of our Army. Your presence in public represents the values that our Army stands for: leadership, duty, respect, selflessness, honesty, integrity, courage.
Please remember that careless and reckless motorcycle riding tarnish those values. Remember that disregard for personal and public safety is not a value taught anywhere in the Army.
Please remember that you belong to the finest Army in the world, that you protect and defend this great nation, and that you are the face of the Army to your community. Please remember as you ride.
<object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf'clip_id=6493314&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf'clip_id=6493314&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p>An innovative pilot program designed to reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities has been launched at Wheeler Army Airfield.</p><p>The inaugural advanced motorcycle training course, developed by U.S. Army Garrison-HawaiiAca,!a,,cs Installation Safety Office, takes direct aim at reducing accidents. </p><p>This video was created by the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs Office and TV2, Hawaii Army Cable Network (HACN). </p>