By Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker Garrison CommanderOctober 31, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 31, 2013) -- Teammates, over the past few weeks I have seen a significant spike in speeding tickets as we have begun enforcing the speed limits at our various gates. We recently reduced the speed limits approaching each of our active vehicle barriers to 25 miles per hour. It may seem that we are indiscriminately changing the speed limits but, in fact, the speed reduction is a requirement for the certification of our active vehicle barriers or AVBs. We have had AVBs installed at some of our gates for some time, but until this year they were not certified for use. This year we secured sufficient funding and have contracts in place to finish this project at every gate.
Active vehicle barriers are the devices installed which are designed to stop a would-be terrorist from gaining access to the installation. Based on engineering codes and safety standards, the speed limit of 25 mph allows drivers to safely stop if the barrier is activated. Additionally, security personnel working the ACPs are better protected when vehicles exiting the installation slow down.
Without getting into the technical specifics of the upgrades, one safety aspect in the operation of these barrier systems is tied into the traffic lights located at or near the barrier systems. When a barrier is activated in response to a security threat, traffic lights change from green to yellow to red, to alert drivers to respond appropriately. Should the gate system need to activate, drivers will need to reduce their speed, proceed with caution and stop as they approach from either direction so they have the appropriate time to react.
Although many drivers may find this lower speed limit annoying or inconvenient, the change is necessary, and makes for a safer environment for our Soldiers, Family members and civilians -- safety is paramount. And, in most cases, the increased travel time at these areas is less than two minutes -- a minimal impact on commuters when considering how much safer things are.
We will enforce the speed limit -- Fort Rucker police monitor the areas near the gates and will cite drivers who ignore the posted speed limit. As the garrison commander, it is my duty to ensure the safety of the thousands of people who travel on and off Fort Rucker daily, to live, work, visit and shop. And, although some drivers consider the reduced speed limit aggravating and unnecessary, when security and safety is weighed in the balance, I am convinced they will agree it is the right thing to do.
I will always endeavor to keep you posted of changes affecting you on this installation. Let's all do our part to ensure safe operations around the Post. We're one team on Fort Rucker!