By Master Sgt. Kevin Williams
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
New rules for driving on Schriever AFB signed and approved by Col. James Ross, 50th Space Wing commander, are effective immediately. Not only can drivers be cited for moving violations like speeding and reckless driving, they are now assessed penalty points for non-moving violations like using cell phones while driving and not properly using seat belts. Driving privileges may be revoked if enough points are accumulated.
Due to a recent spike in drivers not wearing seat belts and driving while using their cell phones, Ross felt it necessary to reinforce standards by increasing penalties and those on the lookout for violators. Since security forces can’t be everywhere, personnel from the safety office now have the authority to issue administrative tickets to drivers who don’t follow these rules.
“Safety is the driving force behind these new rules,” said Ross. “With recent trends showing more and more drivers and their passengers not complying with standards, I gave our safety officials the authority to issue administrative tickets. Driving on Schriever is a privilege, not a right. If you break the rules, you will lose that privilege.”
According to the letter, personal protective equipment use is emphasized. Seat belts must be worn and child restraint systems are mandatory. Further, those who ride motorcycles, mopeds or any three or four-wheel vehicle powered by a motorcycle-like engine require helmets and other required PPE.
“We are required to perform random spot checks,” said Tech. Sgt. Sarah Law, 50 SW Safety Office. “Last May, we observed 841 vehicles at a check point and two drivers were not wearing their seat belts. During another check in July, two out of 417 drivers were not wearing seat belts. Not too bad, but in September, we spotted 10 drivers out 545 not wearing seat belts … two were talking on their cell phones and a motorcycle rider was not wearing all of the proper PPE.”
Law also explained that the safety office prefers to have security forces with them during the random spot checks to issue tickets. However, if security forces are unavailable to assist them, personnel from the safety office now have the authority to issue administrative tickets for violations.
Violators who accumulate six traffic points within one year may be banned from driving on Schriever for one week. Accumulation of nine points within a year can result in losing driving privileges for one month and those who are penalized 12 points within a year could be suspended from driving on base for six months.
Points are determined based on the traffic infraction. Three points are assessed for anyone in the vehicle not properly wearing restraint devices, to include child restraint systems, as required by Colorado law; operating a vehicle while using any portable electronic device without a hands-free device; wearing headphones/earphones not designed as aids for hands-free devices; and failure to wear an approved helmet and other required PPE while operating/riding a motorcycle. Six points are assessed for attempting to drive onto Schriever without authority, also known as “gate running.” Points may be assessed for each individual violation when two or more violations are committed at the same time.
“As commander of the 50 SW, I am concerned with the growing number of people not complying with simple rules,” said Ross. “With recent traffic accidents involving serious injury and even death, I created these new rules to help keep our people safe and make possible violators more aware of their actions and their possible consequences. We face many challenges ahead of us in 2012 and we need all of Team Schriever safe and healthy to meet these challenges. I believe this will help us all focus on being safer, more responsible drivers.”