Deployed Marines reminded to drive safely

22 Sep 2004 | Cpl. Paul Leicht

When thinking of the dangers of a combat zone, traffic related accidents might not first come to mind.

However even in places like Iraq, the potential for accidental injury, or even death, due to a violation of traffic laws is real and seriously affects a unit’s combat readiness.

“So far we have not had any traffic related accidents here at Al Asad, but the potential is certainly there,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas P. Mangan, security officer, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3. “Road conditions here are not good at all, which makes things more hazardous, but the big problem is with people driving too fast when their mission does not call for it.”

The Huntingdon, Pa., native added that the traffic law enforcement program is in large part response to inquiries from various commands expressing concern over reckless driving on base. Many also want to know what is being done to police the matter.

Mangan said additional speed limit signs would be posted around base.

“We were surprised to find some drivers doing more than 80 miles per hour in zones with posted speed limits,” Mangan said. “The base’s fusion cell currently has one radar gun and has periodically gone out on patrol to monitor drivers on base.

“Some drivers have been pulled over and have been advised of the security and safety issues at stake,” he added.

Many tactical vehicles have passengers in the back that do not have seat belts and could potentially be thrown from a speeding vehicle. Al Asad also has a large number of pedestrians who are not only at risk from the traffic, but are required to obey the rules of the road as well.

“Unless engaged in an emergency situation, safe driving that demonstrates respect for traffic laws is mandatory,” said Maj. Gen. Keith L. Stalder, commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. “When operating vehicles aboard base (drivers must) comply with base driving regulations and obey speed limits and traffic signs. There is no excuse for behavior that needlessly puts our fellow Marines at risk.”