A Specialist assigned to the Army National Guard, Thibodaux, Louisiana, died in a PMV-4 mishap 5 September 2021 in McAllen, Texas, at 0218 local. While deployed as part of Joint Task Force-Guardian Support (JTF-GS), three Soldiers were traveling in a GSA rental truck. The driver lost control and struck two light poles. The Soldier in the backseat was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical service personnel and transported to the Hidalgo County morgue in Edinburgh, Texas. The front-seat passenger, who was ejected through a window, sustained extensive injuries and was transported to a local hospital. He has undergone extensive surgeries, and the assigned medical team cannot yet determine if he will regain function of his right arm. The Soldier driving was the only person wearing a seat belt and did not sustain any injuries. Alcohol and speed were contributing factors to the mishap. The McAllen Police Department is currently conducting the investigation.
Since 2016, the Army has lost an average of 33 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the 41st PMV-4 fatality of FY21.
Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that's one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started reporting alcohol data — but still, 10,142 people lost their lives. These deaths were all preventable.
Alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. All of these abilities are essential to operating a vehicle safely. As alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, the negative effects on the central nervous system increase. Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. Then it passes into the bloodstream, where it accumulates until it is metabolized by the liver. A person's alcohol level is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood, crash risk increases exponentially. Because of this risk, it’s illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah where the BAC limit is .05.
However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2019, there were 1,775 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.
Speeding endangers everyone on the road. In 2019, speeding killed 9,478 people. We all know the frustrations of modern life and juggling a busy schedule, but speed limits are put in place to protect all road users.
For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2019, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities.
Speeding and alcohol impairment often coincide; this varies with driver age. While 25% of speeding drivers under age 21 involved in fatal crashes are alcohol impaired (BAC = 0.08+ g/dL), over 40% in the 21 to 44 age groups are impaired. The percent of alcohol-impaired drivers falls sharply to 32% among 55- to 64-year-old drivers and continues to decline as the driver age increases.