Robins safety campaign focuses on perils of the road

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78 ABW/PA
So far this summer, nine Airmen in Air Force Materiel Command have lost their lives in traffic accidents. None have been from Robins, and leaders here will soon launch a campaign to make sure it stays that way, emphasizing to Airmen the key role they play in fulfilling the Air Force mission.

Following the Labor Day weekend, which typically includes stepped-up traffic-safety campaigns by civilian law enforcement agencies such as "Over the limit, Under arrest" and "Click It or Ticket," the base will kick off its first "Take Back Our Roads" campaign aimed at promoting traffic safety both inside and outside the gates of Robins.

The campaign will begin Sept. 8, said Maj. Russell Stilling, commander of the 78th Security Forces Squadron, and include stepped-up enforcement of traffic violations on base, focusing particularly on those that create the most problems.

The campaign will include several checkpoints to monitor motorcycle safety equipment and licenses, automobile seatbelt usage, proof of insurance and registration, and prohibited cell phone use.

Additionally, patrols will be on the lookout for unsafe traffic practices such as reckless driving, following too closely, failure to yield, speeding and drunk driving.

According to Air Force senior leaders, motorcycle and automobile mishaps are the greatest single killer of Airmen and at the start of the 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign the Air Force had already lost as many Airmen as the entire year of 2008.

"The intent behind the push is to highlight and refocus people on motor vehicle safety," said Major Stilling.

Cell phone usage, speeding and failure to stop are the biggest traffic safety problems at Robins, he said. "When we have an accident, more times than not it is because of one or a combination of those three," said Major Stilling.

Georgia does not have a law against using cell phones while driving off base, but on base, by Department of Defense directive, drivers can only use a cell phone if they have a hands-free device.

Getting caught using a handheld phone while driving is three points on the driver's base driving record, Major Stilling said, and 12 points over a one-year period means a one-year suspension of base driving privileges.

Base leaders say that while technological advances, like the cell phone, are invented to make life easier day to day, everyone must remember that safety should always be at the forefront and this campaign is a reminder that safety on the roads will not take a back seat at Robins.