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Mishaps increase attention to vigilance on Vandenberg roadways

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Helping children safely cross the street, Tina Piche blocks traffic at an intersection next to the Crestview Elementary School here Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011.  Team V members are reminded to drive with caution to keep Vandenberg personnel safe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Helping children safely cross the street, Tina Piche blocks traffic at an intersection next to the Crestview Elementary School here Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. Team V members are reminded to drive with caution to keep Vandenberg personnel safe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Several recent accidents involving government owned vehicles, privately owned vehicles and pedestrians here have alerted the attention of base leadership and the 30th Space Wing Group Safety Office.

Within less than two full weeks into 2011, two children, in separate instances, were struck by vehicles causing minor to major injuries. Additionally, two GOVs, also in separate instances, collided with POVs in base parking lots.

"This recent trend of accidents indicates an unacceptable lack of caution among drivers which must be addressed," said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander. "I expect all drivers on Vandenberg to take a moment to consider their own driving practices, go back to the basics and to commit themselves to safer driving habits."

In each case, post-incident reports have identified the root cause of the problem as being driver inattentiveness.

At this point, Vandenberg's ground safety personnel are looking for solutions to the recent issues in order to better communicate driver safety tips to the base populace.

"What we are seeing is a spike of people who have become complacent, or comfortable, with their daily driving routines," said Staff Sgt. Michael Ferguson, a 30th SW ground safety specialist. "As vehicle operators, we all need to get back to the basics. We need to slow down when driving in heavily populated areas; be extra cautious in school zones knowing children can be unpredictable; we need to give ourselves more time to get to where we are going; be mindful of traffic signs and weather conditions; and remain vigilant at all times."

In the aftermath of the mishaps, ground safety personnel are currently designing a suitable plan to stake out numerous locations on base to further analyze the recent trend of vehicular accidents occurring here.

Until more conclusive information emerges, personnel can help mitigate future occurrences from happening by reminding their coworkers, family and friends about remaining vigilant on the base's roadways.

"It is easy for us to reach out to the work centers around base and spread our safety messages, but we rely on the employees of Vandenberg to go home and educate their families as well," Sergeant Ferguson said. "My family members get the same briefings that I receive - I believe it is my responsibility to relay the messages to them."

For more information regarding driver safety tips, call Sergeant Ferguson at 605-2607.

To report reckless drivers, contact the 30th Security Forces Squadron's Law Enforcement Desk at 606-3911.