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Stockdale Officer Takes New Approach to Traffic Safety
By: Lt. Jeff White, USS Stockdale (DDG-106) Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO  – Twelve hundred Sailors from 30 different commands gathered in the theater on Naval Base San Diego, Aug. 12 to watch “Street Smart,” A presentation by “Stay Alive From Education” (SAFE), a non-profit organization based in Florida that tailors its education programs toward helping people make safe decisions while driving.

The presentation was given by two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) from Florida who travel around the country delivering the program’s message. The information is presented through a series of graphic, on-the-scene, car-accident photos and videos. The presentation concludes by taking the audience through a day in the life of an EMT, including descriptions of the horrific injuries they typically treat in accidents where passengers did not wear their seatbelts.

The idea for such a program came earlier this year when USS Stockdale (DDG 106) was challenged by Commodore Perry Bingham to find a creative way to reduce alcohol-related vehicle incidents. Ens. Nikki Lavoie, Stockdale’s Repair Division Officer, took the challenge head-on and was able to identify the SAFE program as one of the most effective traffic-safety programs in the country.

Once she identified the Street Smart program, Lavoie proposed bringing the SAFE team to San Diego to meet Naval Surface Forces Safety Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Eric Carlson. He thought it would be excellent training not only for Stockdale, but saw the benefits of opening the presentation to the entire San Diego waterfront and made arrangements to conduct the presentations on a large scale. 

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“With my past experience in the military and in college, I know that this issue really matters,” said LaVoie. “It was really great working with the base to make this program available to the entire San Diego waterfront.”

The presentation received universally-positive feedback from Sailors and officers who attended. Cmdr. Jim Ridgeway, Destroyer Squadron ONE (DESRON 1) Safety Officer was particularly impressed.

“This was far and away the most effective and interesting traffic safety presentation I have seen in over 10 years of involvement in safety programs and over 18 years in the Navy,” said Ridgeway. “I cannot emphasize enough the benefit our sailors can attain from attending this program.”

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