By Mr. David Mcnally (RDECOM)July 23, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Garrison officials are concerned another traffic accident outside a Yongsan Garrison gate signifies a trend.
A U.S. Army noncommissioned officer driving a privately owned vehicle initiated a left turn coming from off post into Yongsan Garrison Gate No. 1 around 9 a.m. July 23.
Left turns are forbidden because of the center bus lanes. Seoul bus routes have priority and normal traffic is not permitted on the red, marked lanes.
The Soldier put her vehicle in the path of a Seoul City Bus traveling at full speed down the center bus lane. The resulting collision spun the car 180 degrees and pushed it 15 to 20 feet, said USAG-Yongsan Emergency Services Director Ricky Oxendine.
"The Soldier and her passenger both sustained minor injuries," Oxendine said. "Both Soldiers were transported by emergency medical services to the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital on Yongsan Garrison where they are being treated."
Oxendine said illegal turns at this gate and the USO gate at nearby Camp Kim have caused many accidents since Seoul initiated the center bus lanes in 2005.
"This is serious," he said. "Drivers need to understand the traffic flow, obey the law and stay clear of city bus lanes."
Garrison Safety Officer Russell Obey completed a safety assessment of the area just last month.
"We coordinated with Yongsan Ward officials to better mark the intersection," Obey said. "However, Yongsan community members need to heed the markings and not make turns across the bus lanes."
Officials said when traveling from Camp Kim to Yongsan Garrison Gate No. 1 drivers should make a left turn at the Samgakji intersection and then a legal U-turn at the next intersection. Drivers can then make a right turn at Samgakji and a right turn into Gate No. 1.
"The time you save by making an illegal left turn across an active bus lane could be the difference between you arriving late, or not at all," Obey said.
Garrison officials have even considered closing the gate if infractions continue, Oxendine said.
"This time the driver and passenger were lucky," he said. "This could have ended tragically."