FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Army News Service, Jan. 16, 2006) - The Army achieved a 20-percent reduction in accident fatalities in fiscal 2006 according to a recent report on safety, available at

Driving mishaps were the leading category of accidental fatalities. Although driving fatalities decreased by 13 percent in fiscal 2006 compared to fiscal 2005, the category still represented 65 percent of the Army's accident-related fatalities.

"What is never acceptable is the loss of a Soldier (or Soldiers) to preventable accidents," said Brig. Gen. William H. Forrester, director of Army Safety and commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.

To address trends in privately owned vehicle accidents, the Army has implemented such initiatives as the Army Safety Management Information System (version two), the Motorcycle Mentorship Program and the Driving as a Life Skill Program.

"Over the past two years, ASMIS-2 users were three times less likely to be involved in a fatal POV accident than non-ASMIS users," said Forrester. "However, the value of the tool itself is not in the computer online input, it is in the one-on-one interaction between the Soldier and his supervisor. It, again, comes down to leader engagement at all echelons that saves lives."

The Army Readiness Assessment Program offers commanders a collective view of their units' climate and safety performance. This Web-based survey identifies battalion-level units most at risk for mishaps, and identifies areas at which leaders should focus their efforts.

ARAP statistics over the past eight months show that battalions scoring in the lower quartile are 50 percent more likely to experience a Class-A mishap than those scoring in the top quartile.

"The results from safety programs and tools such as ARAP arm leadership with the information and action steps they need to then use on points of failure within their formations," Forrester said. "This provides leadership and commanders the ability to adjust safety climate, risk management practices, leadership, and processes that enhance high performance in their formation and decrease loss overall within the Army."

According to the Army Safety and Occupational Health Strategic Plan issued by Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army goal is to reduce accident rates by 75 percent by fiscal 2008, using fiscal 2002 as the baseline.