FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 13, 2019) - The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center is releasing an exportable loss prevention awareness briefing called the Evil Eight in May 2019 to arm Soldiers and leaders with the knowledge necessary to mitigate on- and off-duty mishaps.

The new initiative exposes eight common causal factors that contribute to primarily motor vehicle mishaps, which are the greatest single killer of Soldiers, and delivers actionable recommendations to assist commanders in mishap prevention.

"This initiative began a few months ago and is a call to action for leaders to incorporate risk management into all their decision-making," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Daugherty, commanding general, USACRC and director of Army Safety. "We have the necessary control measures in place to mitigate unnecessary risk, and we owe it to our Soldiers and their families to ensure these measures are followed. The senseless tragedies we endure year after year can be substantially reduced if leaders use some of the tools and techniques we've developed."

The "Evil Eight" factors are highlighted based upon their sizeable contribution to mishaps Army-wide and include failure to wear restraints or seat belts, poor mission planning, substandard unit driver training programs, failure to correct a deficiency or standards violation, indiscipline-related mishaps, driver mistakes, driver misconduct, and some analysis on the already-existing Army Risk Assessment Program.

Over the past five years, these contributing elements, some in combination with others, have been directly or indirectly linked to more than two-thirds of Army-wide motor vehicle mishaps.

"When we lose Soldiers or equipment due to standards violations, poor mission planning or any other preventable occurrence, it decreases unit readiness and morale. Mishaps end up directing valuable resources away from our primary mission," said USACRC Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest D. Bowen Jr. "We must create the mindset within our organizations and among our leaders, that there is inherent value in safety culture."

According to a recent USACRC analysis, total Army on- and off-duty fatalities are trending downward, but Bowen said leaders must continue to enforce standards.

"Safety occurs when leaders and units do things the right way and meet prescribed standards in everything they do," Bowen said. "Of the tactical vehicle mishaps involving occupant fatalities to date in fiscal year 2019, every fatality was not using restraints. In those cases, no one using restraints died. That's a powerful statistic that lends itself to the critical issue of standards enforcement."

The initiative not only presents preventable and underlying risk factors, but also delivers actionable recommendations to alleviate hazards and prevent future loss. An exportable briefing is available on the USACRC website that addresses some of the Evil Eight causal factors. It's intended for use in any formation.

The director of Army Safety said that while the Army has made significant steps toward mitigating risk as a whole, leaders must continue empowering their Soldiers to proactively manage risk.

"It is imperative that Soldiers have the opportunity to rehearse every aspect of unit operations because mishap prevention doesn't just happen by chance. It happens when Soldiers and leaders are properly trained and disciplined in their planning and execution of a task or mission," said Daugherty. "When the difference between a fatal mishap and no mishap at all is often seconds or inches, it is vital that every Soldier take responsibility for ensuring standards are met 100 percent of the time. Rehearsals empower Soldiers through knowledge and repetition and give leaders the chance to assess mission readiness."

Daugherty encouraged leaders and Soldiers to review information presented in the Evil Eight initiative and make a focused effort to prevent future mishaps and prioritize readiness.

"Together, we can continue building an Army culture where safety is not an afterthought, but a way of doing business," he said.