A Private assigned to Camp Ederle died in a PMV-4 mishap on 1 May 2021 in Vicenza, Italy. At 2330, multiple authorities, including the Military Police, a traffic accident investigator and the local police responded to the report of a vehicle mishap. Upon arrival, they discovered a single vehicle occupied by three Soldiers. The initial report indicated the driver became distracted when he glanced at his phone, causing him to drive off the road, strike a parked car and overturn. The driver is suspected of driving under the influence after patrols administered a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) and he registered a .104 blood alcohol content (BAC). Neither passengers were wearing their seat belts. One of the passengers was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and other passenger were transported to the local hospital and received treatment for non-fatal injuries. The investigation is ongoing and pending the results of the local report.
In Italy, a reading of .05 on a blood alcohol test is grounds for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense. Also, in accordance with Italian law, there is a zero tolerance for personnel who are 26 years old and younger or have had their license for three years or less.
Since 2016, the Army has lost an average of 33 Soldiers a year to off-duty PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap is the 27th PMV-4 fatality of FY21.
Per AR 385-10 Chapter 11
11–4. Safe motor vehicle operations
a. Occupant protection (HSPG Number 20).
(1) Occupant protective devices will be worn by all persons in or on an Army-owned motor vehicle whether on or off the installation.
(2) All personnel, to include Family members, guests, and visitors, will wear occupant protective devices at all times on an Army installation.
(3) Occupant protective devices will be worn by all Soldiers driving or riding in a PMV whether on or off the installation.
How to be a better passenger
Share the responsibilities
Making yourself useful – whether you offer to operate the 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 at hand.
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’ll pay less attention to the road, which could lead to an easily avoidable accident.
Drilled into us since childhood, this one should be obvious but is worth repeating: wear your seat belt. It's the driver's legal responsibility to passengers are properly belted but if the driver doesn’t you as a passenger can ensure everyone is wearing their seat belt.