Campaign against distracted, impaired driving begins
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- III Marine Expeditionary Force’s and Marine Corps Installations Pacific’s safety offices have joined forces with the provost marshal’s office to implement the distracted and impaired driving campaign, which began Jan. 1 and continues until March 31 throughout Marine Corps installations on Okinawa.
The distracted and impaired driving campaign is part of III MEF and MCIPAC’s continuous “Safety first, safety always” campaign, which highlights continuous, proactive safety programs throughout III MEF and MCIPAC.
“Distracted and impaired driving is the cause of many vehicle mishaps in the states and here on Okinawa,” said Lawrence J. Jacobs Jr., the safety director for MCIPAC and Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. “At MCIPAC and III MEF safety, as well as at PMO, we want everyone to fully understand the hazards associated with distracted and impaired driving in hopes of reducing preventable mishaps.”
The III MEF and MCIPAC safety offices will market safe driving practices through promotional banners, public service announcements and traffic infomercials.
“The main goal is to be a deterrent,” said Staff Sgt. Robert J. Hubauer, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of accident investigation, PMO, MCB Camp Butler. “We want people to know that we are here to enforce safe driving and hope that they will take note and make the right decisions.”
Safety is a continuous issue, and it is always good to promote new ways of keeping everyone safe, according to Jim Maldonado, the III MEF safety officer.
“Texting (and talking) on cell phones while driving is one of the biggest causes of accidents on Okinawa,” said Maldonado.
Driving while distracted or impaired in any way reduces your reaction time, which increases the level of danger on the road, according to Hubauer.
“This campaign is important because any time someone gets behind the wheel while distracted or impaired, they are running the risk of seriously injuring themselves or others,” said Hubauer. “It is especially important to be mindful while driving out in town, as the roads can be very busy and are different than what individuals are used to in the U.S.”
While it is important to be vigilant while driving in the community, it is equally as important to practice safe driving on base.
“If someone takes their eyes off the road for two seconds, anything can happen,” said Maldonado. “A car could pull out in front of you, slam on the brakes, or someone could walk into the street. On base, we are constantly passing schools and there are children crossing the roads all the time, so we cannot afford to be distracted.”
III MEF and MCIPAC officials have high hopes the campaign will make everyone more cognizant with the rules of the road and result in a reduction in vehicle mishaps overall, according to Jacobs.