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Driving safety violators to be given friendly reminders

By Senior Airman Sam Hymas | 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs | March 21, 2007

CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — "You're busted!" That's what drivers on base who fail to follow driving safety regulations could be hearing from base safety officials soon. 

Beginning this week Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing Safety Office will be periodically handing out "You're Busted" cards to Airmen caught driving while talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device or while not wearing a seat belt. 

"Our most precious resource is our people," said Col. Glen Joerger, 437 AW commander. "We're going to make sure people understand that when you drive without a seatbelt or with a cell phone in your hand, the consequences can be fatal."
Senior leadership said the increased enforcement isn't to punish Airmen, but to encourage safe driving practices. 

"The purpose is to identify people who are not following regulations and give them a friendly reminder," said Tech. Sgt. Elliot Reed, 437 AW Safety Office. 

The safety office will also be collecting data from those they give cards to for the purpose of identifying trends. 

The 437th Security Forces Squadron is also cracking down on base drivers. In the last quarter of 2006, only 15 citations were given for cell phone violations. So far this year, 32 citations have been issued. 

"Talking on your cell phone while driving on Charleston AFB is a blatant violation of AFI 31-218, Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision," said Senior Master Sgt. Lex Gibson, 437 SFS superintendent of security forces operations. "Violators can expect to receive a DD Form 1408 Armed Forces citation and will be required to notify their supervisor, first sergeant and commander." 

Security forces Airmen began cell phone enforcement slowly when the regulation was introduced in 2006. 

"First we educated the base public by running articles in the base paper and information in the base bulletin and on the base marquee, said Sergeant Gibson. "Our second phase was enforcement -- initiating traffic stops and giving verbal warnings or writing citations for cell phone violations." 

Sergeant Reed said this initiative is taking place to decrease the number of vehicle accidents. 

"Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries in the Air Force," Sergeant Reed said. "By following these regulations, you'll be safer and less distracted when you drive."