2021 was a Rough Year
Directorate of Assessments and Prevention
U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center
Fort Rucker, Alabama
In fiscal 2021, motorcycles accounted for 24 Soldier fatalities, up two from the previous fiscal year. Four-wheeled PMVs accounted for an additional 44 fatalities, a 52% increase from last year. There were also six pedestrian/non-motorist fatalities, which was up by one from fiscal 2020, for a total of 74 off-duty PMV-related fatalities.
When we break down these numbers, there were 40 privates through specialists (E1-E4), nine sergeants (E5), 10 staff sergeants (E6), nine sergeants first class (E7), one second lieutenant (O1), one first lieutenant (O2), one captain (O3), one major (O4) and two warrant officers (one W1 and one W2). Monetarily, these 74 mishaps cost the Army nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in injury and damage costs alone. More importantly, it cost us 74 Soldiers across 25 military occupational specialties from an AH-64D armament/electrical systems repairer to wheeled vehicle mechanics.
If we break down the details behind these mishaps, we get the following:
- 96% involved a male
- 57% involved a Soldier between grades E1-E4
- 55% happened over a weekend or holiday period (1800 Friday to 0559 Monday)
- 48% were between 18-24 years of age
- 23% involved speeding
- 14% were known to involve alcohol, more are suspected
Sadly, 23 (31%) of these mishaps centered around some form of indiscipline on the part of the Soldier, with speeding involved in 15, followed by alcohol use and failure to wear a seat belt or motorcycle helmet. These are all violations of known standards and failures to obey the law. Sadder is the fact that these mishaps were entirely preventable.
Based on the fiscal 2021 PMV mishap numbers, the Army is down nearly two full platoons of Soldiers. It takes a long time to replace that many losses and rebuild a cohesive team. However, these deaths not only affect Army readiness levels, they also have a long-lasting and tragic impact on families. These Soldiers left behind spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and other family and friends. As we counsel our Soldiers about their off-duty activities, get them to focus on the fact that a momentary lack of judgment, a poor decision, or a failure to obey known requirements and laws doesn’t impact just them.
The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center hosts numerous tools and informational briefings to assist leaders and Soldiers in preventing these unnecessary mishaps. Use the following link to access the website and take advantage of those tools and information: https://safety.army.mil/.