By DRIVING TASK FORCE, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center,Fort Rucker, Ala. September 30, 2011
The overwhelming majority of Soldiers who die in off-duty privately owned vehicle (POV) accidents do so needlessly, according to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center (USACR/Safety Center). Despite the fact Soldiers are taught a disciplined approach to on-duty safety through composite risk management (CRM), accident reports identify Soldier indiscipline as the primary cause of these fatal crashes. It is obvious such training works because of the declining number of on-duty accidents. Unfortunately, many Soldiers leave CRM behind when they leave the post. The result has been an alarming increase in off-duty POV accidents, especially those involving motorcycles.
Although Leaders are engaging Soldiers on the importance of applying CRM to off-duty safety, far too many Soldiers make flawed risk decisions and suffer the consequences. Recognizing that, the USACR/Safety Center has developed the Sedans, Trucks, Off-road vehicles, Motorcycles and Pedestrians (STOMP) program. The program's goal is to develop a media campaign to provide Soldiers with constantly updated information on driving safety.
The key to STOMP is monthly Training, Indiscipline, Planning and Safety (TIPS) messages designed to help Soldiers transition the CRM training they've used on duty to the challenges they face on the road. A major component of TIPS will be monthly posters and advertisements provided electronically to Army publications. Because these will be provided in electronic form, installation publishers can modify them to suit the needs of their audience.
Why this new emphasis and program? Leaders understand their ability to directly oversee their Soldiers' safety often ends when that Soldier drives or rides off post. The choice to be safe must also exist within the individual Soldier if off-duty POV accidents are to be reduced. STOMP and TIPS are designed to help Soldiers accurately assess their risks on the road and make wise, life-saving choices.
While the ideal goal would be an accident-free Army, that lies beyond the realm of possibility. However, what is possible is that Soldiers can take responsibility for their safety, regardless of their duty status, and dramatically reduce driving and motorcycling fatalities. STOMP and TIPS are tools designed to help make that happen.