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Preliminary Loss Reports (PLRs)

About Preliminary Loss Reports (PLRs)

Preliminary Loss Reports provide leaders with awareness of Army loss and highlight potential trends that affect combat readiness. Within 72 hours of a loss, PLRs provide a synopsis of the incident: unit, date of loss, description of the activity at the time of the death. PLRs do not identify root causes of an accident, as the investigation is ongoing. Further details will be available later on RMIS (account required).

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PLR 22-016 - PMV-2 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, PMV-2
A Staff Sergeant assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado died in a PMV-2 mishap 19 December 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at 1600 local. The Soldier was operating his motorcycle when a civilian vehicle ran a red light and struck him. The Soldier was ejected and suffered a broken pelvis, ribs, and collapsed lungs. He was transported to the local medical center and pronounced dead upon arrival by the attending physician. It is unknown who notified emergency medical services at this time. Initial reports indicate that the Soldier was wearing the required personal protective equipment, was properly licensed, and completed the mandatory Motorcycle Safety Foundation training. The specific circumstances of the mishap, including speed, and alcohol or drugs as contributing factors, are also unknown. The safety/unit points of contact are waiting for the local law enforcement to release their final report.

Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 25 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap was the sixth off-duty PMV-2 fatality of FY22.


Safety Tips for Intersections:

1. This is the cardinal rule: Always assume that every motorist on the road is going to do something wrong that will hurt or kill a motorcyclist.
This may sound like paranoia, and maybe it is, but it is good for you if you want to stay safe on your bike. Keep your eyes and senses peeled at all times when it comes to other motorists.

That guy driving toward the intersection? Assume he is going to turn left in front of the approaching motorcycle.

That woman sitting at the intersection? Assume she is going to pull out just as the motorcycle reaches the intersection.

What about that guy parked along the curb with his motor running? Assume he is going to pull out into traffic just as the motorcycle is reaching the parked car, and so on.

Other motorists may not have malicious intent towards bikers, and most people do not mean to hurt others, it just happens.

2. Slow down when approaching intersections, even if no other motorists are visible.

Roadways approaching intersections, especially in towns or cities, often cannot be properly viewed until you’re right on them. Assume there are vehicles approaching from both directions at intersections, and that they will blow through the traffic controls. By slowing down before the intersection, the motorcyclist is better prepared to deal with unexpected danger. You may have a green light, but people run red lights all the time. The few seconds you take to slow down could mean the difference between crashing and cruising on.

3. DO NOT rely on the other driver’s eyes.

It may look like that other driver is staring right at the motorcyclist. Many times, drivers are looking right “through” the motorcyclist, focusing on the larger vehicles in traffic. In this situation, the motorcycle becomes “invisible” to the motorist.

We have all had that experience where we get road hypnotized and when we arrive at our destination, we have no recollection of the trip or how we got there. It is as if we were on autopilot. Assume all other motorists are on autopilot.

4. DO rely on the other motorist’s wheels.

Instead of looking at the eyes of a motorist stopped at an intersection, look at the wheels of the car. The wheels do not lie. If the wheels start to move, the motorcyclist should brake as though the vehicle is going to pull out in front of the motorcycle, because there is a good chance it will.

At a four-way stop, it is also a good idea to beware of the classic "rolling stop". For those unfamiliar, this is where a motorist will slow at a stop sign but not come to a complete stop, instead opting to cruise on through.

5. Beware the "Lethal Left": When a motorcycle and car are approaching an intersection from opposite directions, always assume that the car is going to make a “lethal left” in front of the motorcycle.

The “lethal left” is the most common crash between auto and motorcycle. There are things bikers can do to minimize the chance of a “lethal left” happening to them. The most important preventive measure a biker can take involves attitude and vigilance. Assume that every motorist is going to do something dangerous that may cause injury or death. By adopting this attitude, a biker increases the chance of avoiding the “lethal left” and other motorist errors.

Do not assume the oncoming motorist is aware of the presence of a motorcycle in the intersection, even if it appears there is direct eye contact. Again, look at the wheels of the car for the most reliable indicator of what the motorist is going to do. Any time an oncoming auto has the opportunity to turn left, bikers must be on high alert.

In these situations always slow down, cover the brakes, and be prepared to take evasive action. The evasive action plan must take into consideration surrounding traffic conditions. Be aware of the position of other vehicles to be able to choose the safest escape route. Hard braking may not be a good choice if being tailgated at highway speed.

6. Whenever possible, a motorcyclist should go through intersections with a vehicle beside the motorcycle.

Most motorcycle-automobile crashes happen in intersections. In addition to the usual precautions, there is one thing bikers can do that will lessen the chance of being injured or killed in an intersection crash.

When approaching an intersection, try to have an automobile to the right side. Why? Because the vehicle to the right acts as a safety escort through the intersection. If an automobile runs a stoplight or a stop sign to the right, it will hit the car the biker is traveling beside instead of the biker. Better to have the safety escort to the right, as there is more time to react to a car running a stoplight from the left. The closer the biker is to the center of the road, the more buffer exists for traffic coming from both right and left.

When pulling away from a traffic light that has just turned green, pull away at the same speed as the car on the right does. To avoid getting t-boned in intersections, forget about accelerating hard from the stoplight. Let that car to the right be your safety escort through the intersection. That way, if somebody does run a red light or stop sign, the motorcycle is protected, at least from one direction.

7. Check tire pressure and tire condition before riding.

Improperly inflated tires can lead to tire failure. At high speeds, tire failure (or a full blowout) can be fatal.

While blowouts are rare, they do still happen. When tires fail, the most common cause is tire pressure that's too low. Checking tire conditions and pressure levels frequently will reduce the chance of a blowout. Know the tire manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels or, at the very least, where to find them on your tire. Know that if this is a new bike, the tire pressure recommended may not be the same as your old bike.

If a tire blows out or fails while riding, it’s crucial to react quickly and decisively to avoid a crash. The first sign of a tire blowout is that the motorcycle becomes harder to steer. The steering problem is caused by rapid air loss to a tire.

8. If a car is following a motorcycle too closely (closer than three seconds behind), wave the car back.

If the car will not move back to a proper following distance, do not let your temper get the better of you, pull over to the shoulder and let them by. If something happens that requires hard braking by a motorcycle with a car following too closely, chances are greatly increased that the car rear-ends the motorcycle. Remember, in a car vs. motorcycle crash, the car (almost) always wins.

9. Back Off! Follow the Three-Second Rule.

If a car passes and then pulls back in front of the motorcycle too closely, brake gently and back off to create the three-second safety buffer. Anything closer, and the motorcyclist doesn’t get enough time to react to things that “pop out” from under the car, like dead animals, chunks of tires from blowouts, etc. Following the three-second rule gives a rider the precious few moments needed to react exactly as they need to stay safe, anything fewer risks putting the rider in danger.
10. DO NOT follow vehicles too closely.

Keep that minimum three-second safety buffer between the motorcycle and the traffic in front. Any closer, and the risk skyrockets of rear-ending the vehicle if it slows down suddenly. Those folks in the vehicle ahead may be nice people, but the motorcyclist does not want to meet them by coming through the back window.

BONUS TIP: Beware of farm machinery.

In certain areas of the country, it is important to watch out for tractors, trailers, and combines, especially in the fall when Harvest Season is underway and more slow-moving equipment and machines are on the roads.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to pass within 100 feet of any intersection. With gravel roads roughly every mile, that greatly limits your legal passing opportunities.
While not illegal to pass slow-moving equipment near a farm drive or field entry, the safer call is to wait until you have gone by the drive or entry, then make the pass. Drivers of slow-moving machinery may have a more difficult time seeing motorcyclists than automobile drivers. This sometimes results in farm equipment turning in front of a motorcycle just as the bike starts to pass.

We may feel annoyed having to wait on slow-moving equipment, but a pass at the wrong moment can be fatal. Be on the lookout for places farm machinery might turn before making the move to pass. The best practice is to slow down to the speed of the farm equipment before considering a pass. The first benefit of slowing down is that it will allow an assessment of the potential danger. Secondly, if the tractor makes an unexpected movement, it will be much easier to avoid at low speed.

 

PLR 22-015 - GMV Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, Army Vehicle
A Specialist assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky died in a government motor vehicle (GMV) mishap 16 December 2021, at 0156 local. A field litter ambulance drove over two sleeping Soldiers in a non-designated and unmarked sleeping area, resulting in one Soldier fatality and another Soldier suffering non-fatal injuries.

Since 2017, the Army has experienced an average of 10 GMV fatalities per year. This was the second GMV fatality of FY22 and above the number of GMV fatalities during the same time period last year.


Tips:

- Ensure sleeping area perimeters are designated and marked as tactical situation permits (ChemLight, engineer tape).
- Select sleeping areas protected by natural obstacles when possible.
- Ensure Soldiers do not sleep outside of designated marked sleeping areas or in/under vehicles.
- Post a sleeping area guard to warn vehicle crews of troops on the ground.
- Establish dismount points beyond which vehicles may not move without ground guides.
- Ensure ground guides use flashlights to direct vehicles when visibility is reduced.
- Ensure vehicle commander walks completely around vehicle prior to movement to check for personnel clearance and other hazards in the vicinity.

 

PLR 22-014 - PMV-2 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, PMV-2
A Sergeant First Class assigned to Fort Eustis, Virginia, died in a PMV-2 mishap 5 October 2021 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at 1330 local. The Soldier was on pass when he was involved in a collision with a civilian vehicle. He had little to no reaction time when the vehicle pulled out in front of him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The Soldier was wearing personal protective equipment and had a recent certification card on hand. The use of alcohol or drugs as contributing factors are unknown at this time. This mishap is still under investigation by the Virginia Beach Police.

Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 25 Soldiers a year to PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap was the sixth off-duty PMV-2 fatality of FY22 and the same number of fatalities for the same time period last year.

Even if you are doing everything right, your odds of serious injury or death greatly increase when riding a motorcycle.

When comparing car versus motorcycle accidents, the difference in survival rates is alarming. Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than those driving cars. The passenger death rate is nearly six times higher in motorcycle crashes than in auto accidents. Year after year, statistics reveal that more people are killed in car crashes than they are in motorcycle crashes. However, when it comes to the rate at which people are dying in these crashes, there is no question about it: the fatality rates are much higher with motorcycles. You can see the latest data from the Insurance Information Institute (III):

Car vs. Motorcycle Fatality Rates

Fatality Rate, 2017

Per 100,000 registered vehicles
Motorcycles: 59.34
Passenger cars: 10.05

Per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
Motorcycles: 25.67
Passenger cars: 0.94

The III reports that in 2017, the occupant fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was 59.34 for motorcycles and 10.05 for passenger cars. In other words, the occupant fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles was nearly six times higher among motorcycle crashes.

When comparing the car versus motorcycle fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the statistics become even more shocking. The fatality rate with motorcycles was 25.67, compared to a fatality rate of 0.94 for passenger cars.

 

PLR 22-013 - PMV-2 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, PMV-2
A Florida National Guard Staff Sergeant on active duty for operational support died in a PMV-2 mishap 23 November 2021 in Flagler County, Florida, at 2300 local. The Soldier was riding on Interstate 95 when he struck a semi-tractor trailer traveling in the same direction, reportedly ejecting him from the motorcycle. The Florida Highway Patrol indicated other vehicles may have struck him while in the roadway. Local authorities responded and the Soldier was pronounced dead at the scene. It is unknown at this time if the Soldier was wearing personal protective equipment, if speed or alcohol were factors, or if he had completed the proper Military SportBike RiderCourse. This mishap is still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 25 Soldiers a year to PMV-2 mishaps. This preventable mishap is the fifth PMV-2 fatality of FY22, above the number of fatalities for the same time period last year.


While motorcycles can be a fun, quick and convenient way to travel, there are higher risks involved compared to driving cars. Due to having less impact protection, many motorcycle accidents become fatal. Should a motorcyclist get into a crash, they are 27 times more likely to die compared to those who get into car accidents. Accidents happen, but sadly, many are preventable.

Here a few simple tips to improve your chances and increase motorcycle safety. These tips could be the difference in preventing a fatal motorcycle accident.

1. Be Aware, Be Focused, Be Alert - It is important that you eliminate as many distractions as you can when riding a motorcycle. Be mindful of your surroundings and other cars around you. A sudden stop, change in traffic speed or other obstacles could spring up at any moment. Never operate a motorcycle drunk, sleepy or sluggish. Even small distractions can lead to serious motorcycle injuries.

2. Assume No Car Can See You - Riding a motorcycle makes you less of a viewable obstacle on the road. Many motorcyclists tend to fall within a car driver’s blind spot. In addition, car drivers are subconsciously paying more attention to other cars on the road than motorcycles. Many motorcycle accidents were caused because a car driver did not see a motorcycle and thought a motorcycle “came out of nowhere,” even though the motorcyclist was nearby for miles. It is best to believe that none of the other cars on the road can see you so you do not make a poor decision based on assumption.

3. Pay Attention to the Wheels of the Cars in Front of You - One useful tip for motorcyclists is to pay attention to the wheels of the cars in front of them. Seeing where the wheel pivots will help you discern where they are going if the car decides to change lanes or make a left turn. It also lets you know what direction the car is going if it decides to back up near you.

4. Make Sure Your Path is Clear - While you’re observing the wheels of the cars in front of you, check to make sure your path is clear. Many motorcycle crashes are caused by running over fallen tree branches, rocks, potholes, oil spills or other hazards on the road. While a car could possibly run over these hazards without a problem due to its weight and four-wheel drive, a motorcycle weighs significantly less and requires more balance on two wheels. Look ahead to avoid hazardous paths or pull over to a stop at a safe place if you see such obstacles ahead.

Night Riding: Quite often, you will have to ride at night. After all, it is dark 50% of the time. Dusk is really the worst time, when people’s eyes are adjusting from daylight to headlights. Be especially careful just after sunset. The following tips might help:

-Slow down a little when riding at night, especially on any sort of winding road.

-Use your own headlight, and those of other traffic, to keep an eye on the road surface. It is more difficult at night to see the patch of sand or something that fell out of a pickup.

-Distance between you and the vehicle in front becomes even more important at night. Give yourself room to react.

-Wear a clear face shield without scratches. A scratched shield can create light refraction that might confuse you; two headlights can look like four, and you do not know who is coming from where.

One of your biggest hazards at night may be a “who” coming from a few hours of drinking.

-Be especially alert for drivers and vehicles doing odd things, like weaving in and out of traffic, and give them lots of room.

 

PLR 22-012 - PMV-4 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

Posting Date:   /   Categories: Preliminary Loss Reports, PMV-4
A Specialist assigned to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky died in a PMV-4 mishap 24 November 2021 in Whites Creek, Tennessee near Nashville, at 0300 local. A group of Soldiers were traveling back to Ft. Campbell in a single vehicle when the driver lost control of the vehicle, while negotiating a sharp turn, and struck a rock wall. It is unknown who notified 911. The specific circumstances of the mishap, including the fatal Soldier’s position within the vehicle, speed, the Soldiers use of a seat belt, as well as alcohol or drugs as contributing factors, are also unknown at this time. The safety/unit points of contact are waiting for the local law enforcement to release their final report.

Since 2017, the Army has lost an average of 36 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the sixth PMV-4 fatality of FY22.

Stay Alert – Avoid Distractions
Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Remember, your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping safe. Stay alert and watch out.

•Put down your phone. Smartphones and handheld electronic devices are a daily part of life, but they take your eyes off the road and distract your attention.

•Don’t wear headphones. Your ears will tell you a lot about what is happening around you – be sure to use them.

1. Avoid distractions while operating a vehicle.
2. Your focus should be on the task of driving safely.
3. Pay attention to your surroundings especially if you are unfamiliar with the area in which you are driving.
4. Focus as far to your front as possible using peripheral vision to scan for obstacles.
5. Maintain the posted speed limit.
6. Always wear your seat belt and ensure your passengers do the same.

How to be a better passenger
•Share the responsibilities - make yourself useful, whether you offer to operate the satellite navigation or act as another set of eyes for the driver – can help avoid any accidents that would have happened due to distraction or driver fatigue. Keeping watch for any diversions and reading road signs will also help the driver to focus on the task of driving.

•Banish backseat driving - Keeping a watchful eye for things the driver might miss is helpful; criticizing every move the driver makes could be harmful. If the driver gets frustrated or annoyed, the likelihood is they will pay less attention to the road, which could lead to an easily avoidable accident.

Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that is one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982 when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data — but still 10,142 people lost their lives. These deaths were all preventable.

In 2019, almost 74% of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes between midnight and 3:00 a.m. were alcohol-impaired (blood alcohol concentration [BAC] of .08 g/dL or higher) compared to 43% of non-speeding drivers.

 

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