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JBSA News
NEWS | May 24, 2007

Minor accidents major concern for 12 SFS, JAG

By Airman 1st Class Katie Hickerson 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

In the seconds that it takes someone to look down and change the radio station, answer the phone, type out a text or dig something out of the console, their car has already traveled several feet. 

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of Randolph personnel involved in minor motor vehicle collisions. Members of the 12th Security Forces Squadron and legal office offer tips for anyone involved in accidents on base. 

"In my 20 years in uniform, nearly all of the accidents I have seen would have been completely avoidable if the drivers would have just taken the few extra seconds necessary to be aware of their surroundings," said Master Sgt. Lorenzo Cortez, 12th SFS operations superintendent. 

Getting into and out of parking stalls around base can sometimes be tight and lead to minor "fender benders." The majority of incidents on base tend to include a smashed tail light or dented door, according to Sergeant Cortez. 

If the accident is minor, people can call the law enforcement desk and a security forces member will be dispatched to the scene. 

Sergeant Cortez said if the accident is more severe, one should assess the situation and if there are any medical issues at all, immediately dial 911. 

"Patience and understanding are two things that may help the situation when involved in a minor accident," said Capt. Deric Prescott, deputy staff judge advocate. "It is not worth getting into a physical altercation with someone over a door ding." 

Occasionally, attorneys will advise individuals involved in minor accidents, but most of the time, these cases are worked out between insurance companies, he said. 

"But, we're always here, and willing to advise members of Team Randolph on legal matters," the captain said. 

To assist people involved in vehicle accidents, the 12th SFS has implemented an electronic report process, called E-COP. 

The E-COP Web site is a system that has also been designed to report claims to insurance companies, said Robert Vickers, 12th SFS Installation Security Section chief. The only requirement is that people report the incident to the police if they wish to make a claim to insurance. 

When a minor incident occurs, the 12th SFS will dispatch a first-responder to the scene to check for injuries and sobriety, said Mr. Vickers. The 12th SFS member will not file an accident investigation report on the incident, but will provide the person involved a business card with information to file a report via E-COP. 

"We have gone to this system to eliminate the middle-man and keep our patrols available for emergency responses," said Mr. Vickers. "Our intent is for everyone to have access to this system, which will be linked to the Air Force Portal."
T
he system is currently available through a computer kiosk located at Building 235.
"Drivers have up to 72 hours to file a report with security forces," Sergeant Cortez said. "They need to provide their own, as well as the other person's, driver's license, proof of insurance, date, time, and location of the incident." 

Once the facts have been reported, it takes about five to 10 working days to process the report. Those with pending claims are able to check the status of the claim, or obtain a copy of the police report at no charge by calling the 12th SFS Reports and Analysis Section. 

To help lower the number of accidents around base, the 12th SFS runs radar and stop-sign enforcement in random locations, as well as monitors high-traffic areas during peak hours, said Sergeant Cortez. 

"People sometimes park illegally in parking lots on base, often times creating traffic hazards," Sergeant Cortez said. "We are increasing mobile patrols in parking lots around base to help prevent those cases." 

"My biggest concern is safety," he said. "The 12th SFS, together with wing leadership want to do what's best for all drivers on base." 

For more information, contact the law enforcement desk at 652-5700. For legal questions, call 652-6781.