Realistic demo cautions Soldiers against DWI
July 23, 2012
Warmer months are a time where fatalities escalate, and leaders from the 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, recognized this as a year-to-year problem and wanted to educate their Soldiers on how to protect themselves, their Families and others out there on the roads.
During a driving-while-under-the-influence safety demonstration July 13, Soldiers gazed, horrified, as the story of the incident seemed to hit home.
The demonstration had two Soldiers in a previously-wrecked vehicle -- one Soldier thrown from the vehicle for not using his seat belt and the other in the passenger seat with severe damages to his vital organs. Both -- for training purposes only -- were pronounced dead at the scene.
"The guy who was drinking and driving (in another car), crashed into our car, ended up killing the both of us, (but) he walked away," said Spc. Coty Scott, one of the demonstrators from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website states, "In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes - one every 51 minutes."
"This could be any one of us at any time if we do not take care of one another," said Sgt. Norman Milton, an orderly room clerk for Company A, 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt.
"We never want to say we could have made a difference," said Sgt. Michelle Lee, an aviation operations specialist, HHC, 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt. "We need to do all we can to save lives."
According to the NHTSA website, "Impaired driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol misuse and abuse."
The commander of the 7th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt., Lt. Col. Scott Halter, explained to his ranks that leadership must get involved by having their Soldiers plan ahead and look out for each other. He also emphasized personal responsibility, consequences of alcohol abuse and disruptive behavior.
"Don't drink and drive; if you find yourself intoxicated because you were out there at the club or bar drinking, don't hesitate to call a buddy who hasn't been drinking," said Halter. "We are all a Family, and we will take care of one another."
Fort Campbell leaders have taken a stance against drunk driving, and their Soldiers have been posting "Don't drink and drive," signs all over the post.
While the focus of this demonstration was drinking and driving, this isn't the only behavior that can cause unnecessary accidents. Texting, using a cell phone or smart-phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading -- including the use of maps, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player -- are a few of the main distractions that can be just as damaging as driving while intoxicated.
"Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving," according to the NHTSA website. "All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction."
The Department of the Army has directives in place to aide its personnel to stop driving while distracted.
According to Army Regulation 190-5, Chapter 4-2, paragraph c.2.a, "Vehicle operators on a DoD installation and operators of government owned vehicles will not use cell phones unless the vehicle is safely parked or unless they are using a hands-free device."
Bottom line, everyone must take a dynamic role in order to reduce the fatalities this fiscal year. Remember, safety awareness, discipline and teamwork are key to a safe summer.
For more information visit the Fort Campbell, Ky., Installation Safety Office page at http://www.campbell.army.mil/campbell/Safety/Pages/SafetyHome.aspx.