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PLR 24-050 - PMV-2 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

A 21-year-old Private First Class assigned to Fort Liberty, North Carolina, died in a PMV-2 mishap 28 April 2024 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at 1600 local. The Soldier reportedly was riding his motorcycle when he drove off the road and struck a concrete barrier. The South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) responded to the scene and transported the Soldier to the local hospital. Upon arrival, he was pronounced dead by the attending physician. The Soldier was wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment; however, he did not have a valid motorcycle endorsement. He was scheduled to attend the Basic RiderCourse 4 June 2024. The SCHP reported speed was suspected as a contributing factor to the mishap. The unit/safety points of contact are waiting for SCHP to release its final report.

Since FY19, the Army has lost an average of 28 Soldiers a year to PMV-2 mishaps. This mishap was the 19th PMV-2 fatality of FY24 and above the number of fatalities for the same time last year.

Safety tip

Unlicensed riders: Despite State requirements, some motorcycle riders are not properly licensed. In 2021 some 36% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes did not have valid motorcycle licenses, compared to only 17% of passenger vehicle drivers (NCSA, 2023).

Thirty-six percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2021 were riding without valid motorcycle licenses at the time of the crashes, while only 17 percent of passenger vehicle (passenger cars and light trucks) drivers in fatal crashes did not have valid licenses.

A valid motorcycle license includes a rider having a valid driver license (non-CDL license status) with a motorcycle endorsement or a motorcycle-only license.

Motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were 1.2 times more likely than passenger car drivers to have previous license suspensions or revocations (16.8% and 14.2%, respectively).

NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an investigating police officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash. Thirty-three percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2021 were speeding, compared to 22 percent for passenger car drivers, 15 percent for light-truck drivers, and 7 percent for large-truck drivers.

Motorcycle riders 21 to 24 years old involved in fatal crashes had the highest speeding involvement at 49 percent.

Riding a motorcycle is among the riskier modes of transportation. Not only does operating a motorcycle require more physical skill and strength than driving a passenger vehicle, but motorcycles lack a protective structure, offering the rider virtually no protection in a crash. Furthermore, the motorcycle’s smaller size relative to most motor vehicles may make it less visible to drivers and will also make it more vulnerable in a collision with larger, heavier passenger vehicles and trucks.

Improve Your Motorcycling Skills and Safety with Training
Motorcycling is a unique experience. Whether you ride to and from work, prefer the camaraderie of a group ride on the weekend or enjoy the vistas of an off-pavement excursion, motorcycling engages all your senses and creates an exhilarating sense of freedom. Along with that freedom comes responsibility, and it's crucial to take every safety precaution.

All states require some form of license to ride a motorcycle on the street, demonstrating a minimum level of riding skill and knowledge. Liability insurance also is required. If your state does not require a hands-on training course before applying for a license, consider taking one anyway to learn basic riding skills and how to stay safe in traffic.

Riding a motorcycle requires a heightened sense of awareness, and more strength and coordination than driving a car. Riding also involves some risks not encountered when driving other vehicles. Motorcycle riders require more maneuvering skill and are more vulnerable in a crash. Motorcycles are not as easily seen as cars or trucks because of their narrow profile. Other motorists, particularly those who don’t ride a motorcycle, may not be looking for motorcycles in traffic. This places the motorcyclist at risk, particularly at intersections.

Hands-on Course
The MSF Basic RiderCourse is a great place to start once you've made the decision to ride. The BRC covers the basics of operating a motorcycle:

  • Clutch/throttle control

  • Shifting

  • Straight-line riding

  • Stopping

  • Turning

  • Swerving

  • Safety-oriented mental strategies

You’ll learn that safe riding depends as much on the mental skills of awareness and judgment as it does on the physical skill of maneuvering the machine. Motorcycles and helmets are provided for your use. Successful completion of this course – which typically includes the 3-hour Basic eCourse, five hours of formal classroom activities and 10 hours of riding instruction conducted over two or three sessions, plus knowledge and skill tests -- may waive the license test in your state. The course may also earn you an insurance discount.

Per AR 385-10:
The Army Progressive Motorcycle Program is mandatory for Soldiers operating a privately-owned motorcycle to sustain or enrich rider skills. The Army standard basic motorcycle rider’s course is an appropriate Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), MSF-based, state-approved or DoD component approved curriculum for motorcycle operators’ safety training. Training will be conducted by certified or licensed motorcycle rider coaches and include classroom instruction on technical and behavioral subjects, hands-on training, and an evaluation on a riding skills and knowledge.

The program consists of the following courses: Basic Rider Course (BRC), Experienced Rider Course (ERC)/Basic Riders Course–II (BRC–II), Military Sports Bike Rider Course (MSRC), Advanced Rider Course (ARC), Motorcycle Refresher Training (MRT), and sustainment training.

(1) Initial training. Prior to operating any two or three-wheeled vehicle that requires the operator to be licensed with a motorcycle endorsement in the state or HN, soldiers will successfully complete BRC. Training may be accomplished on a contractor-provided motorcycle or the individual’s own motorcycle. If approved by the commander, the Soldier may ride a motorcycle to the training site or location.

(2) Intermediate training. Within 1 year, based on the type of motorcycle owned or operated, Soldiers are required to complete an ERC, MSF BRC–II, state-approved, or DoD component approved course or an MSRC, MSF ARC, state-approved, or DoD component approved course for motorcycle operator intermediate level training.

(3) Motorcycle refresher training. MRT is required for any (motorcycle-licensed and endorsed) Soldier owning a motorcycle and returning from a deployment greater than 180 days. A Soldier must attend MRT prior to operating his or her motorcycle on a public or private street or highway with the exception of riding to the training site or location. MRT will be conducted on the individual’s own motorcycle to confirm ability to safely handle his or her motorcycle. Training will be provided at the unit level utilizing USACRC MRT digital video disk (DVD), which is available online at https://safety.army.mil or by request. Based on MRT performance, commanders can refer motorcycle riders back to the Progressive Motorcycle Program for re-training if they question the operator’s safe riding skills.

(4) Sustainment training. Within 5 years of completing intermediate training, inactivity, or the acquisition of a new or change in motorcycle(s), operators will complete the appropriate intermediate training course. Soldiers are encouraged to take sustainment training after a major geographical change. Sustainment training consists of the appropriate intermediate training course or other Army-approved motorcycle safe riding courses at no expense to the U.S. Government. Commanders are not authorized to waive or defer sustainment training.

PER AR 600-8-4 - Line of Duty Policy, Procedures, and Investigations
D–7. Rule 7

A Soldier who operates a motor vehicle in a negligent manner that was the proximate cause of an injury, illness, disease, or death may be found to have engaged in misconduct depending on the circumstances as a whole. Simple negligence alone does not constitute misconduct.

a. A Soldier who knew or should have reasonably known they were unfit to drive, and who is injured or deceased as a result of driving a motor vehicle when unfit to do so, may be found to have engaged in misconduct. Voluntary intoxication, use of drugs or other circumstances that affect the Soldier’s mental or physical faculties may cause a Soldier to be unfit.

b. It is not necessarily misconduct when a Soldier has a motor vehicle accident because they fell asleep while driving. Injury, illness, or death incurred while not wearing safety devices such as seat belts or safety helmets is one factor to consider. The violation must, under the circumstances, amount to gross negligence to constitute misconduct. For example, in motorcycle accident investigations, the IO should determine whether the motorcycle operator took the required safety course prior to the accident and obeyed traffic laws in determining the proximate cause of the accident.

c. The failure to use safety devices may have nothing to do with the proximate cause of the injury, illness, disease, or death. For example, the failure to wear a safety helmet may have nothing to do with a motorcyclist who breaks a leg.

d. Failure to use safety devices can aggravate the illness, injuries, or disease but will not be the proximate cause of the illness, injuries, disease, or death. Do not focus solely upon whether or not the Soldier was wearing seat belts or other protective devices at the time of the accident, instead carefully examine the facts and circumstances of each case.

Tips provided by USACRC, NHTSA and NSC.



  • 30 April 2024
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 101
  • Comments: 0