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PLR 24-051 - PMV-4 Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life

A 47-year-old Active Guard Reserve Sergeant First Class assigned to the Army National Guard, Hammond, Louisiana, died in a PMV-4 mishap 28 December 2023 in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, at 0730 local. The Soldier was driving his vehicle to work when he lost control and impacted a guardrail. He then traveled back onto the roadway before crossing the centerline into the opposing lane, striking a Jeep head-on. The Louisiana State Police (LSP) responded and pronounced the Soldier dead at the scene. The Soldier was properly restrained; however, it is unknown if speed was a contributing factor. The unit/safety points of contact are waiting for LSP to release its final report.

Since FY19, the Army has lost an average of 35 Soldiers a year to PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the 23rd fatality of FY24 and above the number of fatalities for the same time last year.

Safety tip

Focus is key while driving. Distractions can cause even the most experienced drivers to make dangerous mistakes.

Secure Your Cargo

Be sure to put all of your cargo in a secure place in your car. Reaching for loose belongings is dangerous; it takes your hands off the wheel and often takes your eyes off the road. Make sure all of your belongings are firmly held in place.

Tips for Preventing Speeding
  • Know the Limits: Familiarize yourself with speed limits in different areas and follow them strictly.

  • Plan Ahead: Leave early to avoid rushing and the temptation to speed.

  • Use Cruise Control: Use cruise control on highways to maintain a consistent speed and avoid unintentional acceleration.

  • Stay Focused: Minimize distractions, such as texting, eating or setting your GPS, while driving to maintain focus on the road.

  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure your vehicle is well maintained, including brakes and tires, to optimize safety and performance.

  • Drive Defensively: Anticipate potential hazards and adjust your speed accordingly, especially in adverse weather conditions or on unfamiliar roads.

  • The Deadly Consequences of High-Speed Driving

    One undeniable fact demonstrates the importance of following speed limits: the faster you're driving, the more likely you are to be killed in a crash. Here's why:

    Acceleration and Deceleration Forces: During a crash, the vehicle experiences rapid acceleration or deceleration, causing occupants to move forward or backward forcefully. Higher speeds result in greater forces, increasing the risk of injury.

    Inertia: Newton's First Law states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force. In a crash, occupants continue moving at the vehicle's speed until stopped by a seat belt, air bag or other interior structure. The faster the vehicle is traveling, the greater the inertia. This leads to more severe injuries upon sudden deceleration.

    Increased Impact Forces: As speed increases, so does the force of impact in a collision. The energy involved in a crash grows exponentially with speed. This means that even small increases in speed can dramatically impact the severity of injuries to occupants.

    Reduced Reaction Time: Higher speeds reduce the time available for drivers to react to hazards on the road. A split-second delay in recognizing and responding to a potential danger can make the difference between a near miss and a catastrophic collision.

    Decreased Control: Driving at high speeds reduces a driver's ability to maintain control of the vehicle, especially in adverse weather conditions or on winding roads. Loss of control at high speeds can lead to loss of vehicle stability, rollovers and more severe crashes.

    Incompatibility with Crash Safety Systems: Modern vehicles are equipped with sophisticated safety features designed to protect occupants in the event of a crash. However, these systems are less effective at higher speeds, as the forces involved may exceed their protective capabilities.

    Increased Risk of Ejection: High-speed crashes are more likely to result in ejection of vehicle occupants, significantly increasing the risk of serious or fatal injuries.

    Impact on Pedestrians and Cyclists: Higher speeds also pose a greater risk to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The likelihood of a pedestrian or cyclist being killed in a collision with a vehicle increases substantially as the speed of the vehicle increases.

    By recognizing the lethal consequences of high-speed driving, drivers can make informed choices to prioritize safety on the road. Adhering to posted speed limits, adjusting speed for road and weather conditions and avoiding aggressive driving behaviors can all help reduce the risk of serious injury or death for everyone sharing the road. Remember, arriving safely is always more important than arriving quickly.

    The Relationship between Vehicle Speed and Crash Severity

    Think about the difference between jumping off a curb, a chair or the roof of a house. Physics explains the powerful relationship between vehicles speeds and the severity of crashes.

    The relationship between speed and severity is not linear. The outcomes quickly become more dangerous for drivers and passengers. Even with seat belts, air bags and other safety features, here’s what happens as vehicle speed increases:

  • From 40 to 50 mph, the chances of death double.

  • From 50 to 60 mph, the chances of death double again.

  • When impact speeds are over 50 mph, expect a fatality in half of the cases.

  • When impact speeds are over 70 mph, chances of death are nearly 100%.

  • Tips provide by AARP, Department of Motor Vehicles and Michelin.com



  • 6 May 2024
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 101
  • Comments: 0