A 26-year-old First Lieutenant assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve, Bedford, Virginia, on inactive duty training orders, died in an on-duty Government Motor Vehicle (GMV) mishap on in Bowling Green, Viriginia, at local. The Soldier’s unit was conducting a tactical vehicle convoy to their battle assembly when the HMMWV left the roadway and overturned. One Soldier was fatally injured, and four other Soldiers sustained non-fatal injuries. A Safety Investigation Board led by members of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center is investigating the mishap.
Since FY19, the Army has lost an average of eight Soldiers a year to GMV mishaps. This mishap was the third on-duty GMV fatality of FY24 and above the number of fatalities for the same time last year.
The Army has accounted for 22 rollover mishaps resulting in the loss of 20 Soldiers since FY19. Most on-duty rollovers are preventable, and actions can be taken to prevent or reduce severity when they occur.
Safety Tips to prevent vehicle rollovers:
Wear seat belt and restraint devices!
Slow down. Watch for sharp curves and steep slopes and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. Curves and slopes generate centrifugal force that enacts sideways motion on the vehicle, increasing the chances of rollover. Come to a complete stop and downshift at the crest of steep grades to control speed. Faster speeds also result in decreased driver response times.
Avoid panic. Do not jerk the steering wheel. Many rollovers occur when the driver panics/jerks the steering wheel during an emergency. Jerking the steering wheel, conducting sudden vehicle maneuvers, overcorrecting or excessive steering can cause loss of control, and the vehicle may slide sideways and rollover.
Employ proper maneuvering. If your vehicle runs off the roadway, gradually reduce your speed. Ease off the accelerator pedal so the vehicle slows down. Slowly ease the vehicle back onto the roadway when it is safe, and your speed is under control.
Make sure vehicles have been safety inspected and maintained. Pay attention to the tire condition and air pressure during PMCS to reduce potential hazards. Worn and improperly inflated tires increase your risk of rollover.
Use combat locks/safety latches safely. Combat locks/safety latches help keep the doors closed in a crash. If traveling near water, ensure to release latches to allow easier evacuation in the event the vehicle becomes submerged underwater.
Do not lock up the brakes. Use a pumping action in emergencies instead of locking the brakes. Use adequate braking at various speeds to make emergency stops safely. Breaking hard will accelerate the skid, contributing to loss of control and rollover.
Use caution on rural roads. When a vehicle leaves a rural road, it can overturn when it strikes a ditch, embankment or is tripped by soft soil.