On this Memorial Day, we remember our military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Sadly, military troops who have recently returned home from overseas deployment have the highest mortality rate in car & motorcycle-related incidents.
The VA & Richard Petty are doing an awareness campaign to to help save lives.
Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake teamed up with the Defense and Transportation departments and NASCAR legend Richard Petty to announce the creation of the “Home Safe, Drive Safe, Stay Safe” initiative, which he told reporters is designed with one objective: to save the lives of veterans on the highways.
“We’ve all come together to address something that is a recurring problem,” Peake said. “Young men and women in our armed forces return home safely from combat operations, yet they face a life-threatening risk at home on our highways.”
VA and Transportation Department research on Vietnam and Gulf War veterans shows the risk of death from a motor-vehicle accident was much higher during the first five years after redeployment, regardless of gender. For present-day Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, the risk is 75 percent greater than the general U.S. population, Peake said.
Regardless of the conflict, gender or age, “there’s an elevated risk to our returning heroes of dying on our roadways from traffic accidents,” he added.
“Today, nearly 2 million men and women have served in combat zones since 2003, and there are more that will serve in the current conflicts,” Peake said. “And as important, future generations will undoubtedly be called upon to serve the cause of freedom abroad, and we must do our part now to ensure that they will drive safe and stay safe when they return home.”
Another article stated some possible reasons. Without the restricted stress of combat theater discipline, the soldiers feels free to enjoy stateside freedom. That, in combination with special duty pay, fuels the desire & ability to purchase high performance cars & motorcycles. This results in a deadly formula of mortality.
The Racing Ready Solution – AUTOCROSS !
In addition to the “Home Safe, Drive Safe, Stay Safe” initiative, I have a simple, fun & inexpensive solution – participate in autocrossing! An autocross is a safe, controlled, at times high speed, challenging driving environment. It takes place on a large enclosed parking lot, with a course defined by orange traffic cones. The car’s times are accurately measured by computer controlled timing lights & software. It is lots of fun & very competitive! Here, in South/Central Texas there are 2 very active autocross clubs:
- SASCA (San Antonio Sports Car Association), based in San Antonio, Texas
- SPOKES (Texas Spokes Sports Car Club), based in Austin, Texas
The next 2 autocross events will be co-events between the 2 clubs. They will take place in in San Antonio, on Sunday, June 7 & Sunday June 28th, 2009. The event’s location is at the AT&T Center, just 1 mile south of Fort Sam Houston. Go here for all the details, map, registration, etc.
You may want to come by the first one to observe & ask questions. All sorts of people & cars participate – you’ll be sure to find something of interest! Besides being fun, autocrossing helps you to learn car control at handling extremes not normally found on the street.
Racing Ready knows that autocross helps us all with our daily driving stress. If it can also save a life, we would be SO thankful!