Accidental Soldier fatalities were down 8 percent at the close of the first quarter of fiscal 2015, continuing the downward trend that culminated in the Army’s safest year on record during 2014.
According to data released by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, 23 Soldiers were killed in accidents during the most recent first quarter, or Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. That figure was down slightly from 25 accidental fatalities for the same timeframe the year before.
“We should all take pride in our efforts to reduce Soldier fatalities,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Farnsworth, director of Army Safety and commanding general, USACRC. “Thanks to engaged leaders proactively managing risk, we’ve reduced loss. However, accidents are preventable and we have to remain relentless in our efforts.”
The USACRC analyzes the off-duty to on-duty accidental fatality ratio.
According to the Army’s accident database, off-duty fatalities outnumbered on-duty losses 3:1 during fiscal 2014. As the Army continues to draw down from sustained overseas contingency operations, Soldiers are reminded their single-most high-risk activity is driving a car, motorcycle or military vehicle.
During fiscal 2014, private motor vehicle and military vehicle accidents accounted for 91 fatalities, or 72 percent of all accidental deaths. About 15 percent of Soldiers ride a motorcycle, yet motorcycle fatalities account for nearly half of all private motor vehicle fatalities. Farnsworth said prevention boils down to managing risk and overcoming complacency, overconfidence and indiscipline.
“One of the greatest challenges we face is our inability to see ourselves with sufficient fidelity to prevent loss before it happens,” he said. “Who is taking unnecessary risks? Let’s intervene to stop them. What hazards have we become complacent about — let’s take action to reduce them. Who is overconfident about the risk they face at work or at home? Let’s engage them.
“Fort Bragg currently shows a 30 percent decrease in overall accidents (including military and civilian accidents). This is a reflection of a command that cares about the health and welfare of its Soldiers, Family members and civilians to preserve their most valuable resource — people,” said Rich Eppler, Fort Bragg Garrison safety manager.