The Army reports the number of fatalities in mishaps fell in fiscal 2016 for the seventh year in a row, even while motorcycle deaths were up 32 percent, according to data from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.
In fiscal 2016, 109 soldiers died in accidents that occurred on duty and off duty, according to an Army news release. That number is down from the 110 who died the year before, and it is the lowest number recorded in 45 years, the release said.
Accidental deaths have dropped 32 percent for active-duty soldiers, along with fewer such deaths in the Guard and Reserve, the release said.
Off-duty sedan and pedestrian fatalities declined during fiscal 2016.
But while fatalities in nearly all of the accident categories decreased, fatalities involving motor vehicles were up, with a 32 percent increase in motorcycle deaths , and 38 percent more on-duty vehicle fatalities, due in part to the vehicle rollover at Fort Hood, Texas, in June that killed nine soldiers.
Among motorcycle fatalities, the most common factors reported were speeding, failure to wear personal protective equipment, and alcohol, according to data from the Combat Readiness Center.
Most of the soldiers who died in these accidents were enlisted leaders over age 25, the release said.
"We have an obvious problem with some NCOs," USACRC Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Burton said in the release. "As leaders, we're the first and best line of defense for loss prevention. It's unacceptable that a few are setting a bad example for their soldiers and peers, and even more tragic that they're losing everything for a momentary bad decision. We all need to take a hard look at ourselves and correct the problems we see."
Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at email@example.com.
Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.