I know you all take safety very seriously. However, as of June 27, we have had a substantial rise in fatal motorcycle accidents over the preceding 90 days. Both the VCSA and leadership at the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center have released messages within the past month highlighting the issue, yet losses continue to climb. There seems to be a disconnect between what we, as senior leaders, are doing to address the problem and what is actually happening at the lowest levels in our formations.
As of June 27, 13 of the 23 motorcycle fatalities reported Army-wide were attributed to some form of indiscipline, with speeding, alcohol use, and failure to wear helmets or attend required training the top causal factors. Leaders are also leading the fatality count, with noncommissioned officers making up 16 of the 23 motorcycle deaths recorded this year. Let me be clear: This is not “Soldiers doing what Soldiers do.” Commanders and leaders are responsible for maintaining the good order and discipline of their formations. Failing to do so sets a deadly precedent for the force and threatens the progress engaged leaders and Soldiers have made in reducing preventable accidents during the past several years.
If history is any guide, the worst months for motorcycle fatalities are still ahead. Summer presents a host of unique challenges for Soldiers and their Families, but safe riding is at the top of the list. I expect that commanders and leaders at all levels will ensure motorcycle safety standards are properly enforced. We have nowhere to go but forward, and I expect each of you to do your part to reverse this tragic, yet preventable trend. I have complete faith that our command teams will address this issue. Every single Soldier is a precious resource. Losing one to indiscipline is tragic.