FORT RUCKER, Ala. - Accident statistics from the second quarter show the Army continues to improve its safety performance well into fiscal 2013, according to data released by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.

Overall, accidental fatalities declined 13 percent from figures for the same time frame in fiscal 2012. Based on recent updates to existing accident reports, fiscal 2012 is currently tied with fiscal 2000 as the second-safest year on record, not third as previously reported.

"The fact that accidental deaths are down by double digits from one of our most historic years is remarkable," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, director of Army Safety and commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. "Our leaders and Soldiers are putting in the hard work to keep one another safe."

The second quarter saw significant reductions in fatal on- and off-duty ground accidents. Deaths occurring in privately owned vehicles dropped 21 percent from the same quarter in fiscal 2012, and tactical ground fatalities declined by nearly half. Aviation was the only area to experience a substantial increase, with seven fatalities reported during the quarter as compared to zero the year prior.

Combined with data from the first quarter, fatal accidents thus far in 2013 are down 17 percent off duty and 19 percent on duty. In addition, civilian employee injury claims have fallen nearly 20 percent.

While they welcomed the positive news, both Edens and USACR/Safety Center Command Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Stidley cautioned against complacency during the spring and summer months.

"Historically speaking, these last two quarters are where we'll see our numbers rise," Edens said. "Some years, fatalities have doubled or tripled during the second half of the fiscal year."

"That's obviously an unacceptable situation," Stidley said. "Our first-line leaders have the greatest influence on their Soldiers, and we're relying on them to increase visibility and awareness of warm-weather hazards.

"The greatest risk Soldiers will face is on the road, so that's where leaders' primary focus should be."

The Army Safe Spring Campaign, an annual effort designed to raise awareness of driving hazards and other seasonal safety issues, is currently available at The Army Safe Summer Campaign will kick off May 23.