Truman Sailors Take Charge of DUI Prevention, Driving Safety


Story Number: NNS051222-15Release Date: 12/23/2005 9:00:00 AM
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By Journalist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Kat Smith, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) has taken a proactive approach in the past month in an effort to prevent personal motor vehicle (PMV) mishaps and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) incidents with three important programs.

The "Save a Life Tour," AAA-sponsored Driver Improvement Program and the Navywide Drive for Life training program has given Truman Sailors an opportunity to see firsthand the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel.

"The Navywide stats on PMV deaths are at an all-time high in the past 20 years," said Truman Safety Officer Cmdr. Tom Fohr. "During the past 15 months, Truman has had four PMV-related deaths. We're trying to do our part to keep our Sailors safe and alive."

Sailors took part in the most sophisticated state-of-the-art virtual drunk driving test as part of the "Save a Life Tour" to see how they would score against the debilitation. The complete multi-screen drunk driving simulator allowed Sailors to experience firsthand how alcohol impairs driving skills. Each participant received a "ticket" showing the number of violations committed during their simulation as a reminder of the consequences of driving under the influence.

"I really enjoyed the simulator," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Adam Quarles, of Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Shop 3. "When the DUI level increases and the resistance changes, it really lets you know you can't drink and drive."

The Save a Life Tour visit is just one of several ways Truman's Safety Department and Drug and Alcohol Program advisor are trying to educate Sailors for this holiday season and the year to come.

Safety started their lessons with Drive For Life early in December. Drive for Life is a mandatory online course for all Sailors assigned to Truman and covered three different topics: proactive driving, reactive driving and imminent collision. The hour-and-a-half course took Sailors through a series of scenarios and real-life accident accounts.

The next course, mandatory for Truman Sailors 30-years-old and below and those who have had a moving violation during the past year, was the Driver Improvement Program sponsored by AAA. This program began aboard Truman as their holiday standdown period began in mid-December and will continue through January, and it's the first time an aircraft carrier has made this a mandatory course. It's the same course Virginia judges can award for moving violations and normally costs $75, but it comes free of charge for Harry S. Truman Sailors. Those who don't have any moving violations were able to look forward to a possible discount in insurance premiums.

This eight-hour course teaches Sailors basic defensive driving techniques and how to respond in vehicle emergencies, such as hydroplaning and imminent collision evasiveness.

Truman Sailors considered the classes informative and think there is a good chance they will make a difference.

"The simulator is kind of like a video game, but you learn how to drive again," said Quarles. "I liked it because it was so interactive. I think it's a good class everyone can take something away from."

"I think these courses will show people more realistically the consequences of drinking and driving and give them a sense of urgency toward the problem," said Post Office Leading Petty Officer, Postal Clerk 2nd Class (SW/AW) Robert Halfacre.

With Navy vehicle fatalities rising so far this year Navywide, Truman's Safety Department and Drug and Alcohol Program advisor aren't taking any chances. They've taken the lead in proactively educating their Sailors on the importance of vehicle responsibility and safety, and the perils of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. With this training under their belts, Truman Sailors are in a better position to use this training and stay safe on the roads.

Harry S. Truman is currently preparing for a 10-month Docked-Planned Incremental Availability, scheduled to begin in early January at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.

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