FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Army News Service, Aug. 27, 2007) - Labor Day marks the end of the 101 Critical Days of Summer safety campaign, but the emphasis on safe practices - both on and off duty - will remain.

"Traditionally, Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer," said Command Sgt. Maj. Tod Glidewell of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center. "There's usually increased exposure to outdoor activities and travel, and Soldiers and their Family members should make every effort to ensure that their holiday weekend is safe."

Four Soldiers lost their lives to accidents during last year's Labor Day holiday. Three of the accidents occurred in privately owned vehicles and one was fire related.

"The loss of even one Soldier is unacceptable," said Command Sgt. Maj. Glidewell. "If Soldiers take advantage of the programs and tools that the Army offers and apply composite risk management into their daily activities, they may decrease their chance of becoming an accident statistic."

To date, overall POV fatalities are down nine percent from last year. Army safety officials attribute this feat to a combination of factors including engaged leaders and Army tools such as the Travel Risk Planning System, Motorcycle Mentorship Program and POV Toolbox.

"TRiPS is an invaluable tool that helps individuals plan for a long holiday weekend or road trip," said Lt. Col. Roy Templin, driving task force chief, USACRC. "Additionally, this effective tool provides leaders with recommendations and insights into their Soldier's travel plans in order to protect the Army's most valuable asset, its personnel."

One of the Soldiers killed last Labor Day weekend was a passenger in a vehicle operated by another Soldier. The driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to negotiate a turn and it rolled. The passenger was not wearing a seat belt and died at the scene. The driver fled the accident scene and was found later, legally intoxicated.

"Drinking and driving is not an option that anyone, civilian or military, should ever consider," said Lt. Col. Templin. "The battle-buddy concept should not only apply to the battlefield. Soldiers need to look out for each other off duty as well.

"Even with the commitment our Army takes to educate and train Soldiers on all safety-related issues," he said, "ultimately the decision lies with the individual Soldier to 'Never Give Safety a Day Off.'"

(Lori Yerdon works with the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.)

Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 15:08