Mandatory instruction targets younger troops, Army civilians

CAMP RED CLOUD South Korea -- Soldiers and Army civilians under age 26 can now receive the Army's mandatory Intermediate Driver Course in on-post classes taught by civilian contractors.

The training is available in a standardized, 2.5 hour, on-post class that aims to make Soldiers and Army civilians both safer drivers -- and passengers, said Joseph Colson, Army Traffic Safety manager for the Pacific-Korea region.

Before last year, it was up to individual military units to set up and give their Soldiers the intermediate training, he said.

But that changed in January 2011 when the Army arranged to have it taught as a standardized class with civilian driving safety experts doing the instruction, Colson said.

The training is part of the Army Traffic and Safety Training Program, which the Army's Installation Management Command maintains under contract with a civilian firm, Cape Fox, Colson said.

The course, he said, is intended to help Soldiers and others:

• Identify the consequences of poor decisions

• Make risk assessments for the trip they're about to take

• Take proper actions to reduce hazards during their trip

• Identify the most common driving risks Soldiers take

• Plan trips properly

• Use strategies for avoiding accidents

• Identify the responsibilities of passengers, such as wearing seatbelts

But since the classroom training became available last year, there's been little participation in Korea, officials said.

As of May 21, Area I had five Soldiers trained; Area III, 112; Area II and Area IV had none trained, Colson said.

"I've got 4,000 people in [Area I] that are under 26," said Glen Harman, Area I safety manager with the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud.

"When I have other safety people go check driver's training records, there's no record of this training being accomplished," other than a group of five Soldiers from a dental unit who took the training at Camp Casey in January, according to Harman.

The Army mandates the intermediate driver training for Soldiers and Defense Department civilians ages 17 through 25, Colson said.

But those 26 and older can also receive the intermediate training, at their commander's discretion, Colson said.

"It's not mandatory but it's at the commander's discretion, if he or she feels that they need to attend the course," Colson said.

"Basically," he said, "the command has to place emphasis on it and follow the guidance of the regulation and know that it is available," he said of the course.

"The Defense Department has actually paid for this course, for these contractors to conduct this course," said Colson. "Therefore it's an asset to the unit to utilize it."

To get trained, Soldiers and Army civilians can log on at, and register for the Intermediate Driver Course in their area, Colson said.

And he said units throughout Korea can call their local safety offices to request that classes be scheduled for their personnel.

"If they have problems in registration, call one of the safety offices and we can assist them in registration," Harman said

Those in Area I can call Harman at 732-8528.