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JBSA News
NEWS | Aug. 20, 2014

Living life in the fast lane: Officials urge road safety

By Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

It's important to drive responsibly and avoid three of the biggest obstacles of safe travel; speeding, driving in an impaired or distracted state and driving aggressively.

 

Excessive speed

 

Speed is involved in one of every three fatal crashes and is one of the most significant contributions to crash severity, traffic fatalities and driving violations, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding is dangerous because it increases the stopping distance of a vehicle and enhances the amount of force released in an accident.

 

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph has strict rules against speeding and employs a point system that can result in license revocation for a year.

 

"The goal is to make the roads safe for everyone," Officer Jason Eglinton, 902nd Security Forces Squadron reports and analysis supervisor, said.

 

JBSA-Randolph drivers are assessed three points for driving 1-10 miles per hour over the speed limit, four points for driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit, five points for driving 16-20 mph over the speed limit and six points for driving 20 mph and more over the speed limit. Twelve points accrued in one year results in license revocation for a year.

 

Senior Airman Isaias De Leon, 902nd SFS, reports and analysis traffic investigator, said slowing down is especially critical in housing areas and near schools.

 

"The roads aren't a race track; slow down," he said. "Obey the speed limits, especially around housing and playgrounds. Be aware of children and families."

 

Eglinton explained why people speed despite the penalties and dangers associated with it.

 

"There are several reasons," he said. "They're in a hurry and are not paying attention, they don't take traffic laws seriously or they don't expect to get caught."

 

According to NHTSA, motor vehicle accidents are complex events that are a result of various driver- and environment-related factors. Although this makes avoiding an accident nearly impossible, driver-related factors that contribute to car crashes are mostly behavioral in nature, making it easier to control. Research from various safety programs and associations has surmised this behavior to include impaired and aggressive driving.

 

Impaired driving

 

Driving impaired is sometimes associated with speeding among drivers involved in fatal crashes. However, it doesn't just apply to inebriation. Although alcohol-impaired drivers are more likely to speed and negate the use of seat belts, driving impaired also includes driving distracted.

 

"This includes talking or texting on phones, eating and drinking while driving and even putting on makeup." Staff Sgt. Gary Lund, 502nd Air Base Wing ground safety technician, said. "You call it multi-tasking. We call them distractions.

 

"As said before, the roads are filled with unpredictable possibilities," he said. "So, remember those seconds you spend changing the radio station are seconds lost in seeing a child rushing after their ball in the middle of street."

 

Aggressive Driving

 

Aggressive driving is also a problem on roadways. According to NHTSA's research, aggressive driving is defined as occurring "when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other people or property."

 

"Usually drivers become aggressive when pressed for time," Eglinton said.

 

When confronted by an aggressive driver on the road, the officer advises drivers it's safer to not do anything to agitate them and to let them pass.

 

"It's safer for you to just let them pass you," he said. "Don't challenge them, don't tailgate them after letting them pass you. It will only make the outcome worse."

 

De Leon said, if an aggressive driver makes a life-threatening move, it would be in everyone's best interest to pull over and dial 911.

 

There are many websites and pamphlets with more information on why speeding is dangerous and how to survive the ways of the road. However, speeding is a habitual behavior, which means there's only so much law enforcement can do. It's the drivers' responsibility to make the roads safe.

 

"People are our most valuable resource," De Leon said. "Our stringent safety standards help ensure the well-being of our people and the communities we interact with. Obey the speed limit, be vigilant and slow down."

 

For more information on speeding on JBSA-Randolph, call 902nd SFS reports and analysis at 652-2510.