By Lori Yerdon, U.S. Army Combat Readiness CenterMay 8, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 8, 2018) - As the Army enters the most prevalent time of year for off-duty mishaps, the USACRC released its annual Off-Duty Safety Awareness Presentation yesterday to aid service members and their families in identifying hazards and mitigating risk as they plan their seasonal vacations and outdoor activities.
Themed "Your Life, Our Loss: What You Leave Behind," ODSAP addresses risky behavior and stresses the often-deadly consequences of fatigue, alcohol use and indiscipline.
From fiscal 2013 to 2017, the Army lost an average of 93 Soldiers annually in off-duty mishaps. That's over three times the number of Soldiers lost to on-duty mishaps, and nearly the equivalent of losing a company per year.
Despite a decline in accidental fatalities over the past 10 years, the impact of accidental loss is still significant.
"It's really about standards and discipline in our personal and professional activities, and none of us can afford to get complacent," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest D. Bowen Jr., USACRC, command sergeant major. "We cannot forget that it's leaders, safety professionals and Soldiers who are empowered to stop the chain of events that lead to a mishap, on or off duty."
This year's ODSAP features embedded videos to highlight the potential hazards associated with activities such as driving, handling privately owned weapons, recreational activities and more. The package is a complete briefing kit, including speaker notes, yet leaders have the option to tailor the information to reflect trends specific to their formations.
"We are losing Soldiers at a rate of 3-to-1 off duty versus on duty," Bowen said. "Many of these accidents involve Soldiers driving private motor vehicles with indiscipline as the primary causal factor."
A majority of the indiscipline-related PMV fatalities in fiscal 2017 involved speeding, failure to wear seat belts and/or drinking and driving.
"Addressing and influencing reckless off-duty behavior needs to be a collective effort across the force," Bowen added. "Positive command climates contribute to the steady decline of accidental fatalities; however, there's still a lot of work to do."