NAS Lemoore Emphasizes Safety as Summer Nears its End

Last Updated : 8/29/2012 11:43:37 AM


By Melinda Larson

To mark the end of summer’s 101 critical days, Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore conducted its second stand down of the season Aug.21.  The Naval Safety Center’s 101
Critical Days of Summer is traditionally the period between Memorial Day and
Labor Day.  

A last safety blitz before summer’s final three-day weekend,
the command highlighted motorcycle safety and distracted driving as the
installation’s commanding officer challenged his crew to practice bystander

“It’s called bystander intervention.  If you see a shipmate doing something unsafe,
you can help look after them.  Pay
attention, not only for yourselves, but your shipmates.  You might be the person who saves their
life,” Capt. Eric Venema said as he welcomed all hands. The “101 Critical Days of Summer” are a time of increased travel, leave, and are one of the deadliest holidays for alcohol-related traffic deaths.   According to the Naval Safety Center’s web site, 20 off-duty Navy fatalities occurred in 2011 between Memorial Day and Labor Day, accounting for more than one-fifth of all fatalities for the Navy that year. 

California Highway Patrol Officer Jerry Pierce told Sailors and Marines they better watch out for him if they drink and drive.  “We’re going to have saturation patrols and sobriety
checkpoints.  If you don’t drink and drive, you don’t have anything to worry about.  
I’ll be damned if I let you drive on the same roads as my kids and grandkids,”
said Pierce who’s a regular presenter at NAS Lemoore safety stand-downs.

 Pierce added a driver does not have to be legally drunk to be cited for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. “You can get stopped and charged with a DUI offense even if
you’re under the legal limit of .08.  If you drink anything at all, don’t drive. 
Always have a plan to get home safely,” Pierce emphasized. 

Before showing an insurance company’s video that focused on
several young adults who survived horrific accidents that killed others, Pierce
asked everyone in the audience to turn off their cell phones.Following the video, Pierce asked everyone to check their phones for messages.“See?  You can turn your cell phone off and I’ll bet nobody called you.  What’s wrong with turning your phone off for the 15 to 20 minutes it takes you to drive home?  If it rings while you’re driving, don’t you just want to pick it up?  It’s hard to resist.  Please consider turning your phone off while you’re driving.  We’ve had too many cases of distracted driving,” Pierce added.

Punishment for talking or texting while driving offenses varies by jurisdiction. Punishments include fines, which grow with repeat offenses, along with points against the driver's license in states that use point systems. Under some state laws, serious repeat offenders may even facejail time.   In California, a ticket for violating the no texting law costs a minimum of $159, and subsequent tickets cost $279.Turning to motorcycle safety, Pierce told the group there are two types of riders.“Those that have laid their bikes down and those that will.  Riders today are riding at excessive speeds they’re more aggressive.  You can’t be doing that, please help us put the word out,” Pierce said. 

Back-to-school safety and family advocacy were also topics during the safety refresher.  With 1,200 students enrolled in the installation’s two elementary/middle schools, the
school liaison officer reminded the crowd to be watchful of kids. “There’s a lot of foot traffic in the neighborhoods now that school has started,” said Margaret Gladders, school liaison officer.  “Losing a child is probably the worst thing that could happen in your life.  Please watch out for each other.”

A family life specialist from the Fleet and Family Support Center was also part of the presentation. She said her office is always available to help military families during
times of crisis. “Stress, alcohol, anxiety and chaos can lead to unhealthy coping methods.  If someone you know needs help, step out of your comfort zone and call us.  We’ll be happy to help,” said Pamela Tejeda from the FFSC’s Family Assistance division.

Closing out the event, the installation commanding officer told the audience there are smart choices everyone can make. 

“The solutions are out there, make the right choices.  It all goes back to the Navy’s core values.  Do the right thing when nobody’s watching and do the right thing when everybody is watching,” Venema said. 

Visit the Naval Safety Center’s website to access the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS), an on-line, automated risk-assessment tool.  Sailors and Marines can use it before they go
on liberty or leave, driving outside command travel limits. For TRiPS, and
other safety information: