Keeping Luke streets safe takes team effort

  • Published
  • By by Capt. Ryan Robin
  • 56th Security Forces Squadron operations
Summer is just around the corner, the weather is getting warmer, and there are more pedestrians and drivers on the road than in previous months. So, what does that mean to you?

As 56th Security Forces Squadron defenders, it means we need to be more vigilant in protecting the Luke family. The next time you are driving on base, look around. More units are conducting physical fitness on the streets and family members are taking children for walks and playing in the park. Luke employees are walking to more meetings or taking lunchtime strolls. 

With this added pedestrian traffic, it is up to all of us to make sure the roads stay safe. 

Here's what we can do:
Paperwork and seatbelts:

While driving on base, it is required for drivers to have in their possession a valid driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.  It is also required for the driver and all passengers to wear safety belts.  All children, ages 5 and under, must  use a car seat or be secured by an authorized child restraint system. 

Obey the speed limit:

 Many speed-related accidents can be avoided if the driver heeds the posted speed limit. Most roads on base are posted with a 25-mile-per-hour sign. Remember, if you are driving in a parking lot, passing joggers or a troop movement, the speed limit is 10 miles per hour. When exiting or entering the base, or in military family housing, the speed limit is 15 miles per hour.  Use extra caution when driving through housing because parked cars limit visibility.

Unattended children and pets:
Avoid being hasty when making quick trips. This is not the time to leave a child or pet inside a vehicle. Not only is it against the law, but it could cause injury or death. Summertime news reports are filled with stories of children being hospitalized or dying because they were left unattended in a vehicle. Nobody wants to make the call to the police and report that, not only was a vehicle stolen, but a child was left inside as well. In 2005, Maricopa County was ranked fourth  in the nation for car thefts.
Use turn signals:

 Since the weather is so nice here, we tend to use golf carts more than other bases. They are smaller, lighter and slower than the cars or trucks we normally see on the road. They pose an additional hazard and operators are still subject to the rules of the road. The biggest  issue I have with golf carts however, is the lack of signal use prior to making a turn. When golf carts have turn signals installed, they need to be used just like a motor vehicle. If there are no turn signals installed, then the driver must use hand and arm signals to alert other drivers. If you find yourself behind a golf cart that is not  ble to reach the posted speed limit, ensure the operator of the golf cart sees you and there is clearance from other vehicles and pedestrian traffic before you pass the golf cart.
Avoid distractions:

Drivers today have cell phones, pagers, wireless computers, MP3 players and satellite radios. Using these items while driving takes your attention away from the task at and, increasing the risk of accidents. As a result, the 56th FW prohibits the following items: 

--use of a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving 
--wearing headphones while operating a vehicle
--use of radar-detecting devices on any Defense Department installation 
-- playing music loud enough to be heard 50 feet or more from a vehicle 

Use caution in parking lots: 

With the amount of employees a tLuke and the ongoing construction,finding a parking space can bedifficult. Packed parking lotsmake it difficult to see pedestrians approaching the traffic lane or to spota vehicle leaving a parking space.
Vehicles leaving a parking spacemust yield to the traffic driving alongthe traffic lane. We all must remainvigilant because the driver backingfrom a parking space may not be able to see oncoming traffic until it is too late. Even if you are not at fault, you have to deal with getting your vehicle repaired and the insurance process.
Next time you get in a vehicle, take a moment to think about your responsibilities. If you find yourself needing to speed to get somewhere, try to leave earlier than normal. We
are a family at Luke. Take care of yourself and our family. Please drive safely!