FORT RUCKER, Ala. ─A communications campaign focused on Army motorcycle mishap trends launched today, April 29, to coincide with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May.
The complete campaign, featuring news articles, leader talking points, printable posters and public service announcements, is available on the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center website at https://safety.army.mil/MSAM.
“We’re excited to provide this campaign for leaders and safety professionals across the Army as riding season gets underway,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew C. Hilmes, USACRC commanding general and director of Army Safety. “As we emerge from the public health restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be critical for leaders to reinforce the importance of trained skills and positive riding behaviors among their Soldier riders.”
While motorcycle mishap fatalities have declined dramatically since peaking in the mid-2000’s, they still comprise a disproportionate number of all Class A losses across the force, USACRC data show.
“It’s not just an Army problem, it’s a nationwide issue,” said USACRC Command Sgt. Maj. William L. Gardner II. “Numbers from NHTSA show riders are overrepresented in all American traffic fatalities.
“The reality is motorcycles don’t offer the same protections as conventional vehicles, and behavioral factors like indiscipline make some riders more susceptible to fatal injury.”
Despite reductions in motorcycle mishaps, credited largely to mandatory training and leader engagement in establishing outreach activities like the Army’s Motorcycle Mentorship Program, fatalities have plateaued recently, neither increasing nor decreasing significantly the past five fiscal years.
“It’s great that motorcycle fatalities haven’t spiked like we were seeing 10-15 years ago,” Hilmes said. “However, we must address the fact we’re still experiencing too many any given year. Our challenge will be breaking through this plateau and reaching Soldiers who are still at risk.”
This year’s MSAM campaign is focused on updates to the Army’s mandatory Progressive Training Program, which include a robust behavioral component to address indiscipline; recent trends in motorcycle fatalities, including Soldier demographics and mishap times of day; and a special focus on single-vehicle mishaps, which are becoming more common among Army riders.
“These campaign materials are based on our most recent data and specifically targeted to the Army’s problem areas,” Gardner said. “First-line leaders have an awesome opportunity to really engage their Soldiers on motorcycle safety here, and it’s already packaged and ready to go with the click of a button.”
In addition to the USACRC website, campaign products will be released weekly on the organization’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Hilmes encouraged users to check these venues frequently for motorcycle safety information and more.
“We’re working hard to give our audiences the information they need to stay safe in everything they do, both on and off duty,” he said. “Please check us out and let us know how we can improve.”
The USACRC preserves Army readiness through analysis, training, and the development of applications that prevent accidental loss of Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, family members and vital resources.