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Fatality signs are here to encourage safe driving

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By WENDY STEINHOFF

There are three signs at each gate as you are leaving Fort Knox.

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The signs represent the number of days since a driving fatality has occurred. They represent on-post and off-post fatalities — by any Soldier on or off duty and any DA civilian on duty that has been killed in a vehicle accident. This includes privately owned vehicles, Army motor vehicles, motorcycles and off-road recreational vehicles.

In a matter of minutes, our driving fatality sign recently changed from 819 days without a fatality, to zero.

To anybody’s recollection, 819 days was the highest number of days we have had without a fatality.

It is always hard to lose someone, but even worse when it is a 19-year-old Soldier. One life is too many to lose.

Leaders are required to do POV inspections and safety briefs with their personnel before a long weekend, but it is the individual’s responsibility to use good judgment and not drive fatigued.

As a friend, coworker and/or leader, you have a moral obligation to stand up and ask for keys if you know someone has been drinking, or is too tired to drive. Also, tell them to put the phone down and stop texting. It’s not always the most popular thing to do, but you may have just saved a life.

Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016 alone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration leads the national effort to save lives by preventing dangerous driving behaviors.

Get the facts, get involved, and help us keep America’s roads safe.

Despite the passage of laws prohibiting texting and the use of mobile phones while driving, the general public still seems reluctant to comply with these admonitions. Texting is the most alarming distraction.

Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five whole seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

According to the National Safety Council, one out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving, and 10 percent of all 16-19-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted drivers.

There are three types of distraction: Manual, visual and cognitive.

Manual distraction is when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to eat, drink or find something in a purse or wallet, like a military ID card. Visual distraction is when a driver looks at anything other than the road, such as the radio or GPS. Cognitive distraction is when the driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving, such as when talking to a passenger or having an in-depth conversation on a mobile phone.

Texting and driving involves all three. n