Safety campaign kicks off May 23

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo., -- The Air Force's annual safety campaign, 101 Critical Days of Summer Campaign, kicks off May 23.

"From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Air Force historically has had an increased number of off-duty injuries and fatalities," said Tech. Sgt. Mark Dulaney, 509th Bomb Wing Ground Safety professional. "It is during this time we want Airmen and their families to step it up and be even more safety-conscious."

The Air Force-wide campaign, which runs through Sept. 2, has been ongoing since the late 1960's and was developed to counter the traditional increase in AF mishaps and fatalities that occur during the summer months.

According to a study completed by the National Safe Driving Test and Initiative, nearly 13,000 Americans will die and 850,000 will be injured in car crashes during the 101 days. Of the 25 deadliest days on American roads in the past five years, 20 of them fell during the 101 days from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, including four of the top five.

"Campaign efforts attempt to increase personal awareness of risk and thus reducing the number of summer mishaps and fatalities," said Sergeant Dulaney.

"Also, be a good Wingman," he continued. "If you see your friend doing something they shouldn't be doing, point it out. Our focus should not be limited to on-duty, but should incorporate the Wingman concept into every aspect of our daily lives. We have to look out for one another. One loss is one loss too many."

During the 2007 campaign, the Air Force experienced 19 fatalities compared to 17 during Fiscal Year 2006, according to the Air Force Safety Center. As in past years, motor vehicle fatalities accounted for most of our losses -- eight to motor vehicle mishaps and another six to motorcycle mishaps. Some of the factors in these mishaps included speeding and not using seatbelts or helmets. Alcohol was a factor in two motor vehicle mishaps.

"With the increased number of motorcycles on the road we would also like to stress that automobile operators should be on the look out for our two wheeling friends," Sergeant Dulaney said. "We have to be vigilant and make a conscious effort to look for motorcycles. A large number of motorcycle mishaps are due to the driver of an automobile not seeing the motorcycle."

Also motorcycle riders should make every effort to be as visible and safe as possible, Sergeant Dulaney said. This means wearing all the required personal protective equipment and a brightly colored upper outer garment during the day and reflective gear at night.

"With the kids out of school and the weather getting nicer, summer is the perfect time to go on vacation, relax and have fun," Sergeant Dulaney continued. "Don't let safety take a holiday though because one oversight can turn that time into something not so fun."

Information on various topics, including the 101 Critical Days of Summer Campaign, can be found on the Air Force Safety Center Web site at http://afsafety.af.mil/.