USACRC Release 3QS Campaign 210318.pdf [PDF - 147.7 KB]
FORT RUCKER, Ala. — After an intensive review of mishap data revealed a sharp upswing in tactical motor vehicle crashes during the third quarters of the past five fiscal years, the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center set to work on a communications campaign to inform leaders and Soldiers of the risk.
“Our study was definitive on the fact that tactical vehicle mishaps spike between April and June every year,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew C. Hilmes, USACRC commanding general and director of Army Safety. “About a third of all tactical vehicle fatalities are happening during May and June alone. We’re launching this campaign so leaders can take action now to mitigate their Soldiers’ unique risk before training ramps up in the next few weeks.”
Motor vehicle mishaps are the No. 1 killer of Soldiers on duty, with 55 Soldier fatalities in tactical vehicles between fiscal years 2016 and 2020. A few themes dominate the causal factors identified in safety investigations conducted by the USACRC, including inadequate driver training and lack of pre-combat checks/inspections and convoy rehearsals.
“Regardless of the echelon of command you serve, demand accountability in yourself and others,” said Sergeant Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston. “Ensure operators are adequately trained and licensed on every piece of equipment, every time.”
While requirements for driver training were previously guided largely by individual command decisions, a September 2019 update to Army Regulation 600-55, The Army Driver and Operator Standardization Program, sets clear standards for training programs and mandates a progressive training and licensing model executed by senior unit leaders.
“It’s really about leader presence and engagement across the formation,” Hilmes said. “Leaders involved in not only driver training, but also mission planning and rehearsals, where they can ensure everyone understands dynamic risk management and that vehicle crews are properly mixed according to experience level, will make a big difference in safety at their individual levels.”
Dynamic risk management is the continuous assessment of risk throughout a given mission profile, adapting mitigation measures as conditions such as time, environment or weather change.
“The majority of our tactical vehicle mishaps occur during transitions to or from the main mission,” Hilmes explained. “Risk management is often focused on the operation itself, not the administrative movements when everyone is either anticipating the task at hand or too tired to give the drive back much thought. Dynamic risk management really just means taking all these factors into account so everyone makes it home at the end of the duty day.”
The USACRC also explored the impact of leader flux during spring and summer, when Soldiers typically receive orders for permanent change of station moves. Approximately 50,000-60,000 Army personnel PCS between April and September annually, and these moves usually begin in earnest every June.
“Although the Army drives, on average, 5 million more miles in the fourth quarter than the third, it’s typically the third quarter when leaders are preparing or just beginning to PCS,” Hilmes said. “It’s during that third quarter, unfortunately, when a lot of junior Soldiers are in the position of ‘acting’ leader during these personnel fluctuations and don’t have the experience or knowledge to actively manage risk. Senior leaders will need to guide and mentor them to ensure they understand their requirements and expectations.”
The complete campaign launched today on the USACRC website, https://safety.army.mil/3QS-Campaign.