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Drive safe this Labor Day weekend, don't become ACC's fifth 101 Days fatality

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- The upcoming Labor Day weekend marks the traditional end of the summer season as well as the 101 Critical Days of Summer. ACC lost four personnel during the 101 Critical Days. Seymour Johnson had two of the four. It has been a tough summer for the wing. We have only a week left, and it is a big weekend that may have added dangers.

Tropical Storm Ernesto is heading toward the East Coast, which means lots of rain, wind and many possibilities of road hazards. Now we know no one would ever think about driving in or toward a storm, would they? I am sure there is someone out there who has made plans to visit family or friends and will attempt to make it to their destination no matter what the cost. It's their four-day weekend, they have been working long, hard hours, and they miss their friends and family. If you are one of those folks, it's time to rethink the situation.

If you make the choice this holiday weekend to drive long distances in very short time frames, be aware of the choices you make and how they can be "life" decisions. Are you planning on driving more than 1,000 miles in just three days? Do you think you can drive through the night to return from leave and get back to duty on time? What type of risk assessment are you making regarding your driving? Use the tools that can make the difference between positive risk taking and negative risk taking.

Do you realize that the highest risk behavior you take is driving your car? The leading cause of death for people under 34 is vehicle fatalities. Now is the time to plan and make the right decisions. Supervisors, make sure you are giving the 26-and-under safety briefings; look after the younger troops. Take 10 minutes to look over their vehicles and ensure they have proper tread on their tires, and that their windshield wipers and seatbelts are working properly.

Lastly, Seymour Johnson is very proud of all our military workers who serve their country and have saved countless lives over the past 12 months. And when it comes to driving this weekend, remember that our nation looks to you to set an example of leadership, discipline, training and standards at all times, on or off duty. Remember vehicle fatalities are the greatest risk to human life, with 42,000 lives claimed each year. Save lives and be a part of the driving community this Labor Day weekend. It is up to you to set the example for others to follow.

Drive safely and have a great Labor Day!
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