By Tina Ray/ParaglideJuly 23, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The goal of the Driver Improvement Training Program is not to serve as punishment for drivers who have been issued citations, but rather to serve as a reinforcement of safety on Fort Bragg.
DIT is conducted every Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon, in Memorial Hall of the Soldier Support Center, said Richard Eppler, garrison safety manager at the Installation Safety Office.
Any Soldier, Department of the Army civilian or Family member who resides on Fort Bragg and gets a moving violation is required to attend, Eppler said. Contractors and other civilians do not have to attend.
Moving violations include speeders and those who are cited in vehicle accidents. Other moving violations include running a stop sign or red light, illegal passing, failure to yield the right of way, hit and run, following too closely and seat belt violations.
Drivers who are issued citations for driving while talking on a cell phone, a parking violation or driving with an expired license and registration are not required to attend DIT, explained Eppler.
Drivers are given 30 days in which to attend the course, which is taught on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those who wish to appeal the directive to attend have one recourse - talk to Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg garrison commander, said Eppler. Sicinski decides who gets or does not get to drive on Fort Bragg.
Once DIT is completed, the driver will receive a certificate of completion. The certification is documentation that prevents a driver from being barred from driving on Fort Bragg. It has no validity in a courtroom and is not intended to help with insurance premium reductions, Eppler said.
There are, however, some moving violations that could get the driver barred from on-post driving. Driving under the influence and careless and reckless driving still gets the driver barred for one year, even though he or she attends DIT.
In fiscal year 2009, more than 3,700 people attended DIT. So far in fiscal year 2010, DIT has seen more than 2,800 attendees.
Most violations are issued on Manchester, Chicken and Plank roads, where drivers have been known to exceed the 55 miles per hour speed limit and reach speeds as high as 100, Eppler said.
"Those roads are not really designed for those kinds of speed. There are a lot of curves, blind spots and its dark because there is no illumination," he said.
Though Eppler said he gets many excuses for speeding, it is unacceptable. "Speed limits are set for very specific reasons, based on road conditions and road design, not for travel or convenience," he said.
Steve Brunner teaches the DIT course as an installation command contractor. Brunner would rather that drivers were more courteous and obeyed the law on Fort Bragg.
"We keep challenging people to put us out of business by not getting tickets," Brunner said.