February 2013 #1: More Not-So-Funnies
1. Here’s the latest edition of the Not-So-Funnies, more stories proving that although sometimes people get away with it, and although sometimes when they don't get away with it, it isn't too painful or destructive, nevertheless sometimes they don't get away with it and then it is as terrible as you can imagine.
A. At about 0250, an E-5 left a bar, climbed in his car, didn’t buckle up, steered onto a highway and floored it. He tried making a hard left. The car flipped, rolled and ejected him. A 2-by-4 that was jutting from the ground partially decapitated him. Emergency personnel who arrived at the scene could still smell alcohol coming from his dead body.
B. A few years ago, a lieutenant drove five hours to pick up a used motorcycle that he’d just bought. He inspected it and then drove it to a school parking lot to get used to how it handled and to practice shifting gears. He put air in the tires, ate lunch and headed home. His wife followed in their car.
After about 100 miles, he stopped at a rest area to check out a “slight problem” with the motorcycle’s front end. He didn’t find anything, so they got back on the road. According to the mishap report, based on information from the spouse, it looked like the lieutenant was “having a problem, fighting with the front end.” He lost control and wrecked. He died at a hospital from internal injuries.
The mishap report noted a lack of evidence as to a mechanical malfunction, but pointed out that the lieutenant had ridden motorcycles on and off for many years (but it had been five years since his most recent ride). He had a valid motorcycle license. One day earlier, he had checked about requirements for attending the basic rider course.
Plenty of unanswered questions on this one. Why didn’t he have a qualified mechanic check out the motorcycle? If he had told his chain of command, would someone have advised him to rent a trailer for the bike? Why didn’t he call a tow truck from the rest area when he recognized the problem? Why would he lose control on a clear, dry road?
C. At a state park in the Midwest, a female E-4 from an aircraft carrier was riding an ATV. Usually when we mention these vehicles in the Summary of Mishaps, it is because an enthusiastic and optimistic rider fails to see the need for any recon, finds out that “terrain” doesn’t include huge, unseen drop-offs, plants the ATV’s nose, and ends up with a faceful of dirt and/or shrubbery. They usually aren’t fatal.
This mishap report gives almost no detail, other than that the ATV had an installed lap belt, that wearing this safety device was required, and that she wasn’t wearing it. The ATV “may have flipped” and ejected her, the report said. The result: “multiple traumatic injuries to bones, nerves, spinal cord.” Her dead body was found at the scene.
D. We’ve been hammering away at distracted driving for a long time. As technology developed (I guess I should say “improved,” but there’s always a downside, isn’t there?), we added “distracted while talking on a cell phone” and “distracted while texting.” Lately we’ve had a few “distracted while walking.” Here’s the latest.
In California, an E-3 construction electrician was going to buy snacks, using his skateboard as his mode of transport. His wife called while he was en route. He answered the phone, and then, no doubt distracted, he came to an uneven part of the sidewalk. He lost his balance and fell, spread-eagled onto the curb. The resulting pain was severe enough to make him crawl back home. A friend drove him to a hospital, where he was treated for minor scrapes on his lower back, internal bleeding in genital area, and a lacerated urethra. He was expected to make a full recovery, but spent three days in a hospital, 26 days away from work, and 19 days on light duty.
2. The fact of the matter is that bad decisions lead to bad results-not always, but don't let that lull you. See you next week.
January 2013 #4: The Good Old "Taking Off Your Work Gloves To Get a Better Grip" Routine
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