Summer vehicle safety depends on avoiding distracted driving

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cameron A. Schultz
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – “There are an average of 45 fatalities per year in the Air Force with just motor vehicle mishaps,” said Paul Poggenpohl, 71st Flying Training Wing, Occupational Safety manager.

Throughout the summer, traffic can be heavy, so safety and risk management is critical while driving any type of motor vehicle.

“There’s definitely an increase in mishaps during this time period, not only at Vance, but Air Force wide,” said Poggenpohl.

Within the last week, there have been two motorcycle mishaps at Vance according to the Safety Office.

Many mishaps can be avoided if distractions on the road are ignored.

“Distracted driving can take many forms, such as texting, talking on the cell phone, having kids in the car, having conversations, even talking on your hands free device,” said Poggenpohl.

Your cognitive function and your ability to focus on the road should be the most important priority while driving. Talking on the hands-free device takes some of the attention that should be on the road.

“The most at risk group on the road are people 26 and under,” said Poggenpohl. “What I would say to that age group is that you’re not invincible, it can happen to you.”

Staying situationally aware should not end when leaving the work place.

“We have very few on-duty mishaps and injuries at Vance,” said Poggenpohl. “Most of our Airmen and civilian injuries occur off-duty. That’s when we are most susceptible.”

In order to avoid future accidents, Air Force Instruction 91-207, “The US Air Force Traffic Safety Program,” gives a detailed look at requirements and regulations of motor vehicles. For more information, go to