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101 critical days of summer

  • Published
  • Pope Safety Center
Sept. 7 officially wraps up this year's 101 Critical Days of Summer Safety Campaign. Labor Day weekend historically brings with it a spike in fatalities, so it is important to practice safety in every activity as you celebrate the unofficial end of summer. Having a positive safety attitude is important. Take the time to do a good safety check on your vehicle before you hit the road. Check for sound mechanical condition. Little things like tire pressure, fluid levels, belts, hoses, lights and wiper blades are directly related to your vehicle's safety and when properly maintained can help you avoid breakdowns on the roadways and therefore improve your safety. Think about how you can make your summer activities safer. Whether you are boating, swimming, hiking, or just enjoying some time with family and friends, take time to think how you can do it safely. 

As of Aug. 24, 50 Airmen across the Air Force have lost their lives in Fiscal Year 2009. Forty of those were the result of vehicle accidents, including 16 motorcycle fatalities. We narrowly missed adding five more to those statistics from Pope over the summer. It's very important to remember that IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU! Many of the Air Force's fatalities involved excessive speed, driving too fast for the conditions or reckless behavior. Alcohol was involved in approximately one fourth of the fatalities. Still not convinced? Look at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's data for 2008 and you will discover that you're already at a disadvantage living in North Carolina. North Carolina ranked sixth in fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2008 behind California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Nationwide, about 55 percent of the more than 25,000 fatalities were not wearing seat belts. Seatbelts improve your odds of surviving a crash - buckle up and improve your odds. 

Alcohol was attributed to 30 percent of the more than 1,000 North Carolina fatalities in 2008. Give the keys to someone else if you plan to drink. You hear that all the time, but think about it for just a minute. Just a couple of beers can put you over the limit. You may think you're OK to drive, but your judgment and reaction time are impaired. It only takes a split second to ruin your or someone else's life. You look away for a second, to change the radio, or perhaps catch a text from your buddy and the next thing you know, you cross the centerline and cause another car to take evasive action. The other driver swerves to avoid the impact, spins out of control, hits a guardrail and kills their family of four. It happens like that, every day. It was only two beers and a split second for you, but it was the rest of the victim's lives. Now you've moved out of traffic court and into criminal court, where your prison sentence will be long. Why would anyone want to risk that? It just doesn't make sense. Trust me when I say, the fine for a DUI is the least of your worries when you choose to drink then drive any motor vehicle. It's simple: give the keys to a non-drinking driver and avoid the worry all together. 

Help us keep the remaining days of the 101 Critical Days of Summer from becoming a tragedy for Team Pope. Slow down a little, think about your actions and stay alert out there. Your Pope Safety Center and wing leaders want each of you to enjoy a safe and happy end to the summer months.