The Importance of Army Safety and the Responsibility of the Senior Personnel in a VehicleBrief Introduction The Department of the Army of the US Department of Defense has issued a memorandum circular on May 24th 2007, mandating the conduct on safe operation of motor vehicles.
The issuance of the memorandum circular was in connection to the vehicular accident at the headquarters of the ‘III Corps and 761Tank Battalion’ in Fort Hood, Texas when a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) overturned, resulting injuries of several soldiers on board the cargo bed of the truck. With the incident, the Department of the Army has conducted an extensive investigation to determine the precise cause of the accident, and as well review the existing operating guidelines on the safe use of motor vehicles.This paper will discuss the directives and programs implemented by the Department of the Army, relating the importance of army safety procedures and the responsibility of the senior personnel in a vehicle.DiscussionsImportance of Army Safety Under the year 2005 ‘US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)’ of the Department of the Army, the fundamental importance of the safety procedures is to mitigate the potential vulnerability of risks and casualties within “off and on mission” operating standards. Specifically, mandating all Field Commanders, Security Assistance Command and All Units to always ensure safety and precautionary measures through the implementation of the following guidelines (Department of the Army, 2005):§ DOD Assisted Safety Programs- The ‘Composite Risk Management Training’ provides all personnel with the necessary skills, enabling them to identify potential hazards and control procedures;- The ‘Traffic Safety Course’ requires duty soldiers who are less than 26 years old without a driver’s license to participate in command’s drivers training program within a month after reporting to the unit.
The program includes instructions on causes of accidents, avoiding collisions with another vehicle, fatigue control while diving, among others;- The ‘Safety Program Evaluation’ enables commanding officers to evaluate statutory and regulatory compliance and effectiveness of their accident prevention programs, and improve the programs to comply with best practices.§ Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Accident Program- Establishing of POV traffic safety programs and initiatives, such as policies, trainings, and guidance to minimize risks and motor vehicle accidents.- Requires attendance to the ‘Accident Avoidance Course’ prior to operation of an Army Motor Vehicle.- Requires ‘Accident/Incident Reporting’ as a policy and guideline for initial notification, investigation, reporting, and submission of information which is vital to establish accident prevention measures.- Requires ‘Compliance/Enforcement Activities’ as policies that ensure the enforcement of using seatbelts and wearing of the appropriate protective gear.
– Requires ‘Refresher/Sustainment Driver’s Training’ as a regular activity to avoid “poor driving habits” and obtain driving proficiency.§ Army Assisted Program provides ‘Safety Program Inclusions in Leader Support Forms’ which instructs all leaders (whether Non-Commissioned or Commissioned Officers) to include safety measures and taks in their evaluation support forms and counseling. Likewise, the ‘Commander’s Safety Course’ requires the company grade officer to ensure that all the Officers have completed the course before assuming command of a company.Overall, the importance of army safety is the conduct of standard operating procedures within the Headquarters and Field operations, in which the US Army necessitates the safety of the public as part of their mandate to defend the nation from imminent dangers.
Responsibilities of the Senior Personnel in a vehicleBased on the memorandum circular dated May 24th 2007 issued and signed by Senior Mission Commander Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond of Fort Hood, all commanders and leaders of vehicle movement missions were ordered to undertake the following’10-point Responsibilities’:1. Provide risk assessment for the mission through briefing of participants, discuss applicable controls, updating of mission status, environmental or weather condition, and use or dispatch of vehicles not related to the mission must be approved by the authorized Senior Personnel Officer.2. The Senior Personnel Officer must ensure that the driver of the vehicle has valid driver’s license, oriented and aware on the type of on board cargo, like hazardous objects (ammunitions, fuels, chemicals), and posses the basic skills on mechanical repairs of the vehicle as well familiarity on road safety and traffic regulations.3. The Senior Personnel Officer should conduct a pre-operation check or revalidation for corrective measures on potential discrepancies prior to dispatch of vehicle, and only vehicle with prior approval from the battalion commander or equivalent shall be authorized, with the exception of vehicles on maintenance tests in the maintenance facility.
4. Monitoring the status of dispatched vehicle during intermittent weather condition, ensuring safety of personnel and equipment, and limiting movement of vehicles solely for the mission.5.
Drivers are not allowed to drive for over 10 consecutive hours as well as the duration of the duty be more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period without having 8 straight hours of sleep. If more than 10 hours is required for the completion of the mission, a qualified assistant driver should be on hand.6. The leader of the mission must ensure safe sleeping positions in or surrounding areas of the vehicles, and conduct safety briefing for the understanding of all vehicle personnel.7. All personnel in the front cab and cargo area should be properly accounted for by the team commander, ensuring proper accounting of passengers and cargo.8.
In case of limited rear visibility, a qualified ground guide must be designated to support vehicle accessibility, specifically in heavily congested assembly areas, bivouacs, maintenance/fuel points.9. The senior officer must instruct the personnels’ use of seatbelts during vehicle movement and securing of loose equipments in the cab or cargo area.10. The senior officer must check the personnel’s necessary equipment and protective gears during the loading/unloading of cargo.Conclusion It appears that Maj.
Gen. Jeffrey Hammond being a Senior Mission Commander of the US Army is responsive of the safety standards, and further embarks on taking charge the responsibilities of Senior Personnel for mitigating the potential risk of rank-and-file soldiers in accomplishing their missions.This shows that on top of the importance of the US Army operational guidelines is to deter the common incident of vehicular-related casualties, and supplant the incompetency in the conduct of safety within the chain-of-command. Thus, this proves the importance of “safety first procedure” that upholds strategic defense of the US Army in carrying out its daily mission routines and in the battlefronts.ReferencesDepartment of the Army (2005). ‘US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)’. Retrieved 11 July 2009 from http://www.
tradoc.army.mil/TPUBS/regs/r10-5.pdf.Hammond, J. (2007).
‘Safe Operations of Army Motor Vehicles’. Department of the Army. Retrieved 11 July 2009 from http://pao.hood.army.mil/4ID/safety/CG%20Safety/ArmyMotorVehicleSafety24May07.pdf.;