April 6, 2017 --
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. –
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month at Holloman Air Force Base, and HAFB is using a unique tool to teach its Airmen the dangers of distracted driving.
The 49th Wing Safety Office has set up a driving simulator that gives its user the ability to drive under specific circumstances, such as texting or talking on the phone.
“When most people think of distracted driving, they think of cell phones,” said Dan Salinas, 49th Wing Safety Office occupational safety technician. “It’s also eating, shaving, putting your makeup on, reading a book or kids screaming in the background.”
For this event, the simulator provided a controlled environment with no danger to its user.
“It’s a great opportunity to provide hands-on training and no one gets hurt,” said Salinas.
One of the test drivers was Col. Houston Cantwell, 49th Wing commander.
“I thought it was a really good product,” Cantwell said. “Dan does a phenomenal job of putting the driver into situations where you may feel comfortable, and then various distractions can occur, not just texting, but whether it’s trying to grab a drink of water, checking a map, even changing the music, or whatever it may be, those are things that can cause you to be distracted while driving.”
Cantwell implores his Airmen to make better decisions while behind the wheel.
“I’m pleading with Airmen to think about it,” Cantwell said. “Make smart decisions when you’re behind the wheel, and by doing that, we can better protect ourselves and the people around us.”
Col. Cantwell also wants you to display situational awareness, especially while driving on base.
“No matter how controlled you think your driving on base is, we have kids walking around, whether from school or just playing around,” he said. “It’s a very dynamic environment when you’re behind the wheel.”
The 49th Wing will be cracking down on those who are caught distracted while driving.
“The consequences for individuals driving on base distracted will be the suspension of driving privileges,” Cantwell said. “And our security forces have the authority to enforce that.”
Holloman’s Security Forces Squadron has established the following policy in coordination with distracted driving:
• For the first offense, a 2-5 day license suspension of driving privileges on base
• For the second offense, a 2-4 week license suspension of driving privileges on base
• For the third offense, a 2-12 month license suspension of driving privileges on base
Col. Cantwell feels these initiatives will make for a safer driving environment on base.
“Moving forward I believe Team Holloman will see a decrease in distracted driving,” Cantwell said. “And an increase in personal accountability, safety and following the rules while driving. With all of you we can accomplish that.”