Negligence can be expensive

by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Jensen
86th Vehicle Readiness squadron

Have you ever had a fender-bender with your GOV? Do you know what the true cost of that accident is? Over the last three years the number of accidents and abuses involving government vehicles has steadily risen across the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

This past year, a staggering 17 percent of the vehicles assigned to units within the KMC were involved in incidents. This has cost KMC units a total of $266K a 150 percent increase in costs from fiscal year 2009.

The last three years have cost KMC units a grand total of $546K just to put these valuable assets back in service.

Although every accident is not preventable, a great majority of them can be attributed to human error and poor judgment. Coupled with abuses, this creates a major drain on your unit’s resources. How is this?

The Air Force does not budget for accidents and abuses. Therefore, your unit will be required to pay for these repairs out of their operating budget.  These unexpected expenditures can have a significant impact on how much money your unit will have to pay for normal operating expenditures such as, office supplies and equipment or worse ― quality of life projects.

Abuses are actions that cause or could cause damage to a vehicle which cannot be contributed to the normal wear and tear or accidents.

Failing to turn in the vehicle for scheduled maintenance, failing to maintain fluid levels properly, or intentionally damaging the vehicle are examples of abuse.
This constitutes unnecessary degradation or destruction of government property and should never occur. Abuses compromise the unit’s readiness as well as tarnishes its reputation. It can also mean financial consequences for those caught vandalizing or misusing the vehicles.

Additionally, for every vehicle in maintenance damaged by an accident or abuse, means one less vehicle your unit has available to complete its mission. Moreover, accidents and abuses create a backlog of work in vehicle maintenance, in-turn slowing down the repair of assets requiring routine scheduled maintenance or unscheduled maintenance.

Preventing accidents and abuses begin with you. 

Abuses should never occur and take direct involvement by you and your leadership ― get involved and educate your Airmen on proper care and maintenance of GOVs. Although not every accident is preventable, they can easily be reduced by following a few tips.

According to research conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 17 percent of all accidents were caused by distracted drivers. Safety is the key word — think safe, act safe and drive safe to prevent accidents.

Know the road conditions, pay attention to the other drivers you share the road with, use a spotter when backing up, and most importantly, know your limitations.
These simple actions can help reduce your chances of causing or being involved in a motor vehicle accident and potentially save your unit thousands of dollars.