By ANDREA WALES
U.S. Army Human Resources Command PAO
Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series about summer safety.
Josh Maberry, a management analyst in HRC’s Officer Personnel Management Directorate, rides a motorcycle when the weather permits. Maberry is active in HRC’s chapter of the Army-wide Motorcycle Mentorship Program.
The program gives novice riders an opportunity to ride with more experienced motorcyclists, someone to ensure the Soldier stays within Army standards and regulations.
For example, the proper personal protective equipment is:
* A Department of Transportation-approved helmet;
* Eye protection (face shield built into helmet, or goggles or wrap-around eye protection—regular, prescription sunglasses aren’t enough.);
* Long-sleeved shirt or jacket;
* Full-fingered gloves;
* Jeans or other long pants;
* Over-the-ankle boots.
“Soldiers are supposed to wear the proper PPE at all times while riding, whether on or off post, no matter what the state law is,” Maberry said.
Department of the Army civilians must wear proper PPE when riding on post and are highly encouraged to do so off post.
Master Sgt. Terence Sibley of HRC G-3/Operations said that accidents are usually the result of the “perfect storm” of the motorist not seeing the motorcyclist or not respecting the motorcyclist’s right to be there, and the motorcyclist not riding defensively enough.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Alice Brown of HRC’s Personnel Information Systems Directorate, said the recent addition of civilian mentors has strengthened the continuity of the Motorcycle Mentorship Program.
“People are afraid of group riders,” Sibley said. “Group riding is probably the safest thing because you’re more visible and you’re with riders who know what they’re doing.”
Flashing lights: Getting stopped
If you’re stopped by a law enforcement officer who suspects you’ve been drinking, you can expect a few things to happen.
A “reasonable suspicion” is all that’s needed to stop you, said Master Sgt. Victor Williams, who is a police officer with the City of Vine Grove when he’s not a retiree recall currently serving with HRC’s Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center.
The officer will ask for your license, registration and proof of insurance. Asking you to recite the alphabet is a routine request, but an officer will normally ask you how much education you’ve had because he can’t assume that just because you can drive, you can read and know your ABCs.
No fair singing them either, he said.
You could be asked to take a coordination test, give a finger count or maintain a one-legged stance for 30 seconds.
You can expect to be tested on your “horizontal gaze” (“Follow my finger.”) and asked to take a preliminary breath test.
You can refuse the PBT, but it’s not to your advantage to do so, Williams said.
“Taking a PBT could save you from being arrested” if the blood-alcohol content decreases from the initial test to a second breath test, he said. “If you refuse the test, you put it all in my hands. Let me make a just decision (by taking the preliminary breath test when asked).”
However, if your BAC is 0.08 for an adult in Kentucky and 0.02 for someone under 18, you’re in for it.
“If you’re over the 0.08, the last thing I’m going to say (at the scene) is, ‘Put your hands behind your back,’ ” Williams said.
When you get to the station, you’ll have 10 to 15 minutes to call an attorney, who, if you can reach one, will probably tell you to take the test. The officer can ask for a sample of your blood, breath or urine, or any combination thereof, Williams said.
“The blood test could be higher than what you would have blown,” he said.
Besides the $4,000 to $5,000 you’ll probably pay in fines as well as attorney and expert-testimony fees, driving under the influence exacts a high toll on your career and life.
For the first offense, you’ll get an automatic suspension of your drivers license for 120 days, Williams said. You can ask for a hardship in 30 days whereby you might be allowed to drive to and from work, for example.
But DUIs aren’t the only problems on the road; fancy lights and tinting can get you into trouble, too.
“No matter what state you come from, when you come to Kentucky, you must comply with Kentucky law” including things like no tinted license-plate covers (which obscure your license numbers) or dark, tinted windows (which obscure what’s going on in the vehicle), he said.
Williams’ friend, also in law enforcement, was killed at a routine traffic stop when he was shot through a tinted window.
“What we’re looking for is voluntary compliance. If everybody’s doing what they’re supposed to do, we’re happy. We go eat donuts,” smiled Officer Patrick “Pat” Petit, a deputy sheriff at the County Sheriff’s Office.
People should be aware of other things that can bring law enforcement to a scene, even when they’re not in a vehicle.
Disorderly conduct has two elements: causing alarm and drawing attention to the scene in a public place, Williams explained.
“You can’t just cuss someone out in a public place,” he said.