By Julie Shelley, Directorate of Communication and Public AffairsJuly 22, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 23, 2013) -- With a little less than three months to go in fiscal 2013, accidental deaths throughout the Army continue on a downward trajectory, according to data recently released by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.
Fatalities in nearly all accident categories have either stayed stable or declined -- most by double digits -- from the first three quarters of fiscal 2012, including a 19-percent drop in private motor vehicle deaths. Fatal all-terrain vehicle mishaps are on the rise, however, with three versus zero fatalities this time last year.
"The Army is in flux with our combat drawdown and Soldiers returning to readiness posture at home," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, director of Army Safety and commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center. "Safety successes in the midst of this change are a reflection of the commitment our leaders and Soldiers have to one another."
Both on- and off-duty accidental fatalities were down 20 percent or more at the end of the third quarter. Off duty, both sedan and motorcycle deaths fell for the year, with PMV-2 declining 35 percent from 2012 numbers. Equally dramatic declines were seen on duty, with Army combat vehicle deaths falling 75 percent, and aviation, which experienced difficult first and second quarters, stabilized to finish on par with the previous year.
Those gains are holding steady in the early weeks of the fourth quarter, with overall fatalities holding steady at a 20 percent decrease from fiscal 2012.
Edens urged leaders and Soldiers to keep the momentum going by continuing to do what works for safety: staying engaged, holding themselves accountable for their personal well-being and always looking out for one another.
"These efforts are extremely important during the fourth quarter," he said. "The third quarter has historically been a bad time of year for accidents, but we came through this one without any major missteps. The fourth quarter is a little different, though, because summer is coming to an end and Soldiers will be in a rush to enjoy the rest of the season.
"If we stay on top of risk, we can close both the quarter and the year with record-setting declines in accidental deaths and the personal grief that comes with them."
Command Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Stidley, USACR/Safety Center, asked leaders to pay special attention to ATV riders in their ranks.
"These vehicles are essentially specialty items, and many leaders don't know or inquire if their Soldiers own or ride them," he said. "Riders must know the regulatory requirements before they climb on their machines. Like motorcycle riding, helmets and eye protection are required for ATV operation.
"At the end of the day, Soldiers who abide by the rules and regulations and know how to operate and ride responsibly may live to ride another day."
A range of safety products and tools are available at https://safety.army.mil, including the Army Safe Summer Campaign, designed to help leaders address risks common to the season's activities.