The Army experienced its safest fiscal year ever, with Fort Hood reporting a similar decrease in accidents during the same time frame.
As a whole, the Army experienced an all time low of 137 accidental fatalities — a nine percent decrease from fiscal year 2012. The previous low was 150 fatalities in 1997, according to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.
“This is an outstanding accomplishment for our leaders and soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, director of Army safety and commander of U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Ala. “It not only testifies to their safety commitment and leadership at all levels across the Army, but also strengthens evidence that we are moving in the right direction.”
III Corps and Fort Hood had 13 of the Army’s reported fatalities, down from 15 in fiscal year 2012.
Fort Hood did not sustain any accidental fatalities in fiscal years 2012 or 2013 in the categories of Army combat vehicles, Army motor vehicles and aviation, according to III Corps officials.
Fort Hood had a 20 percent decrease in private four-wheel motor vehicle accidents, which has historically been the primary cause of accidental deaths for soldiers. Fiscal year 2012 saw Fort Hood experience five motor vehicle accidents, with just four reported in 2013. The Army saw a 40 percent decline in these deaths, which has been credited to programs put in place to reduce motor vehicle accidents, said Command Sgt. Maj. Richard D. Stidley of the combat readiness/safety center.
Personal injury fatalities at Fort Hood decreased 50 percent, dropping from four to two this year.
Motorcycle accidents were the one area where Fort Hood’s statistics failed to parallel the Army’s findings. III Corps reported an increase from six to seven motorcycle fatalities between 2012 and 2013. The Army as a whole saw a 15 percent decrease in motorcycle deaths.
“Fort Hood has a robust vehicle safety program in place,” said James Doherty, III Corps safety officer. “While we are slightly above the number of motorcycle fatalities from the previous year, we are well below the Army level in terms of accident rates and have seen a decrease in overall accidents here.”
However, water-related fatalities increased 225 percent for the Army as a whole. Fort Hood water fatality statistics were unavailable, but the Herald reported the drowning deaths of two Fort Hood soldiers in July.
“We will not rest on our laurels. Accidents are preventable, predictable and avoidable,” Doherty said. “Through engaged leadership and training, we remain committed to ensuring our soldiers are vigilant and mindful of being safe both on and off duty.”
His statement falls in line with Army officials who continue to call for safety improvements. The Army’s goal for 2014 is an additional 10 percent reduction in accidental fatalities.
“More soldiers are home now than in at least the previous 10 years, so that means greater exposure to the hazards of driving and riding,” Stidley said.
Julie Shelley, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, contributed to this story.