AMC commander echoes SECAF, CSAF call to stop preventable motor vehicle mishaps

  • Published
  • By Mark D. Diamond
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
Air Mobility Command leaders are directing all AMC Airmen and civilian employees, and encouraging their family members, to stop preventable Private Motor Vehicle mishaps.

In an Oct. 8 memorandum to all Air Force personnel, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said they cannot tolerate reckless operation of motor vehicles by Air Force personnel.

"I strongly echo the sentiments of the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff," said Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, AMC commander, in a separate memo to AMC leaders. "There is nothing sadder than the loss of a human life. Anyone who has sat through one of our fatality briefings can attest to the fact that most, if not all PMV mishaps, are preventable. We must do better to help our Airmen make better risk management decisions."

In fiscal 2009, 47 Airmen lost their lives in PMV mishaps compared to 29 Airmen in 2008. According to Air Force safety experts, non-compliance with seatbelt usage and speed limit laws were identified as causal factors in 68 percent of the motor vehicle fatalities. The Secretary and the Chief said the goal from this point on is "ZERO Airmen lost in preventable PMV mishaps."

General Lichte directed AMC leaders to reach out to every AMC military and civilian member through commander's calls or similar venues to convey this important safety message and address the inherent dangers of operating Private Motor Vehicles.

General Lichte also tasked AMC leaders to review the Air Force Instruction (AFI) and AMC Supplement to 91-207, The Air Force Traffic Safety Program, to ensure their units, subordinate commanders, and unit personnel understand and comply with the requirements and guidance. "Non-compliance with these requirements is simply unacceptable, and those who fail to comply should be dealt with appropriately," General Lichte said.

He added that Airmen need to understand violations of the AFI by military personnel are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

General Lichte stressed that every Airman must be responsible for his or her actions - on and off duty -- and must make appropriate risk management decisions. "I expect nothing less," he said. "The loss of even one Airman has a profound effect on our Air Force and their families."

When Airmen are injured or killed, a line of duty determination is required to evaluate whether it was due to their own misconduct. A finding that the death or injury was due to the Airman's misconduct, and, therefore, not in the line of duty, can impact benefits such as disability retirement and severance pay, veterans benefits, and compensation under the Survivor Benefit Plan. This can mean, for example, if the member was not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, was under the influence of alcohol, or was operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner, the injury or death could be found not in the line of duty, resulting in a loss of certain benefits for both the member and his or her family members.

AMC command safety experts also remind personnel of several command-sponsored programs aimed at reducing motor vehicle mishaps, including the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS), the Air Force Culture Assessment Safety Tool (AFCAST), the "Alive at 25" program, the "Save-A-Life" tours, and the Air Force sport bike safety training program.
TRiPS is designed to help Airmen apply sound risk management decisions when planning road trips. The system helps Airmen account for unforeseen threats to their safety, and the safety of those around them. While still under development, the current program provides a good risk baseline for the traveler.

AFCAST consists of 11 Web-based surveys that provide commanders a rapid assessment of their unit members' perceptions regarding operational and safety-related issues. It allows commanders to focus on those issues their Airmen feel are important enough to bring to leadership's attention.

Both the TRiPS and AFCAST programs are located on the AMC Community of Practice Web site at

In cooperation with The National Safety Council, the "Alive at 25" program specifically targets drivers 16 to 24 years old. According to NSC statistics, vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for people in this age group. The interactive program encourages young drivers to take responsibility for their driving behavior.

The Air Force Safety Center, in cooperation with Kramer International, is presenting the "Save a Life Tour" at installations across the United States. Presentations will be made at eight AMC bases between September and the end of the year. The tour is a high-impact alcohol awareness program that uses video presentations, drunk driving simulators, displays, and personal experience to drive their message home--"Driving under the influence is no accident, it's a choice."

According to AMC safety officials, the Sport Bike Safety course was created as a countermeasure to the increase in sport bike fatalities and mishaps. Officials said as the popularity of sport bikes grows among Airmen, so does the number of injuries and fatalities. The class is designed to make Airmen aware of the dangers of riding sport bikes. The course teaches students correct riding posture, pre-ride inspection points, mentorship, and more. Sport Bike Training Courses are mandatory at all AMC-host installations, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has recently released a Sport Bike course based upon the AMC program.

For more information, call the Safety Office at (701) 747-3364 for local safety programs.