FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 30, 2013) – June is National Safety Month, and senior army leaders are asking soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and their Family members to educate one another on risk and influence behaviors surrounding the leading causes of preventable injury and death.
National Safety Month coincides with the beginning of summer, historically the deadliest time of year for soldiers off duty.
According to Command Sgt. Major Richard D. Stidley, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, indiscipline is a leading cause of Soldier fatalities, particularly on America’s highways.
“We’re dealing with somewhat of a paradigm when it comes to safety of the force,” Stidley said. “In uniform, in Afghanistan or Iraq, or anywhere else around the world, our Soldiers operate nearly flawlessly on-duty. But when they get home, back to the states and out of uniform, discipline goes out the window and we lose soldiers at a rate we cannot afford.”
The army lost 160 soldiers to accidents during fiscal 2012. Off-duty accidents outnumbered those occurring on duty 4-to-1, with motorcycle and vehicle mishaps comprising nearly 80-percent of losses.
“Private motor vehicles, either two wheeled or four, remain the number one accidental killer of our Soldiers,” Stidley said. “Indiscipline leads to reckless behavior, and reckless behavior in any form when you’re driving or riding can be deadly.”
To help leaders, soldiers and safety professionals enhance their personal risk management during National Safety Month, the USACR/Safety Center will launch a dedicated website June 1 at https://safety.army.mil/NSM, containing posters, informational videos and feature articles addressing four core topics: civilian injury prevention, ground operations, aviation operations and driving safety.
While much effort will be put into awareness during June, senior Army leaders urged all members of the army family to remember safety is a day-to-day commitment and responsibility.