Hill urges drivers to slow down, keep roadways safe

  • Published
  • By Greg Hoffman
  • Chief of Safety, 75th Air Base Wing Safety Office

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Over the past few months, there has been an increase in driving related mishaps across the installation.

Personally owned vehicle mishaps on base were up 50 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021.

Unfortunately, one of these mishaps resulted in a pedestrian being transported to a local hospital after being struck by a vehicle.

Speeding remains the most common traffic violation around base. This is especially concerning around our Youth Center, Child Development Centers, and military family housing and industrial work areas.

Complicating the situation, the base’s roads were not designed for high rates of speed, which can further impede driver reaction times when a pedestrian attempts to cross the road.

Another factor noted with the increase in mishaps is distracted driving. Even though using a cell phone while driving is prohibited on the installation, it is common to see motorists driving while using their phones.

How to help

The biggest factor in improving driving safety is driver attitude, which affects driver behavior. Common courtesy and following the rules will achieve more and at a reduced cost than any other action that can be implemented.

All of us need to consider how our behavior could potentially impact someone else’s life forever.

With fall in full swing and winter knocking on our door, there are fewer hours of daylight each day, which can further diminish a driver’s ability to see pedestrians during the morning and early evening hours.

Given the large number of base employees that have to walk some distance from parking lots to and from their work centers and the fact children are walking to school early in the morning, it’s important for motorists to pay even more attention this time of year.

None of us wants to injure (or kill) a child walking to the Youth Center or an employee crossing the street to get to work; however, our poor behavior while behind the wheel of a vehicle has the potential to do just that.

For pedestrians, wearing lightly covered clothing or reflective belts can help. Parents can attach reflective tape on their child’s backpack and also talk to them about crossing roads in authorized crosswalks to minimize the risk of a mishap.

For motorists, following the posted speed limit is the first step to reducing the risk of a mishap. Drivers should also put down their cell phones, consider the road conditions, construction or accident delays, and recognize that arriving a few minutes late is preferable to the alternative.

Traffic enforcement

As a member of the Hill AFB Traffic Safety Coordination Group, I recently asked the 75th Security Forces Squadron to increase our traffic patrols and enforcement on the installation.

If you get caught speeding, running a stop light or stop sign, or failing to yield to pedestrians, you will very likely be issued a U.S. District Court Violation Notice. Unless there is a reason to contest the ticket, expect to pay at least $150 and, depending on the severity of the violation, that could easily escalate to more than $500.

It is crucial we all take stock of our driving behaviors to reduce the risk to our base teammates and their family members.

If you have questions about this or any other installation safety concerns, please call 801-777-SAFE (7233).