While driving on base in September, visitors, military and civilian workers can expect to encounter a Safety and DUI Prevention Checkpoint. Though the gates already serve as such, Security Assistant Sam Ingram of the 75th Security Forces Squadron hopes the checkpoint will help educate and prevent even more security hazards on base.
Personnel at the checkpoint will go over everything from child safety seats and seat belts to the general safety of the car, Ingram said.
Of course, one of the focal points of the checkpoint is to make sure no one is driving on base while intoxicated. The checkpoint itself is more of a preventative measure, though, Ingram said, as DUIs on base are down from last year, with the exception of April.
However, certain units seem to have more DUIs than others so far this year, Ingram added, which is information that is reported to the wing commander each week.
While laws outside the base may only call for those charged with a DUI to attend court, pay a fine and perhaps lose their license for a few months, laws on base can be much harsher, which is why Ingram believes education is key to prevention.
A first offense for enlisted personnel results in the offender losing their license on base for one full year, Ingram said. This applies to all ranks, from an Airman basic to a general, he added. Offenders can also look forward to receiving punishment from their squadron commander or higher, which can range from a letter of reprimand, a less-than-honorable discharge from the Air Force and possibly even a court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice in extreme cases.
As for civilians, they also face harsher consequences. As with an off-base DUI charge, they will have to go to court, pay a fine and lose their on-base driving privileges for a year. Additionally, punishment handed down by their base supervisor can include a loss in pay or even suspension.
"Most importantly, while the legal consequences of DUIs can affect an individual for years to come, the real consequence of driving under the influence of alcohol is the potential to take an innocent person's life with our own irresponsible actions. The grief and guilt associated with killing another person lasts long after a prison sentence has been served or a license has been reinstated," added Senior Airman Tchaichovsky Crosley, 75th SFS Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of police services.
By publicizing these consequences, Security Forces hope to prevent drunken driving incidents from occurring. "Education is important to let people know what happens," Ingram said.
To prepare for the checkpoints, the section worked together with local security forces such as the Utah Highway Patrol to learn how to check the safety of the cars and what to look for inside a vehicle.
Volunteers from each section of the 75th SFS will team up to man the checkpoints, Crosley said. Both he and Ingram say Security Forces look forward to making the checkpoints work and have high hopes for the new initiative.
The checkpoints will be implemented at various times and locations near installation entry points, Ingram said. Special emphasis will be added during holiday periods and other times when DUIs traditionally peek.
Those who do need a designated driver to give them a ride home from base can always call the Airman Against Drunk Driving dispatch phone and arrange for a free ride at any time. Their number is 777-1111.