WASHINGTON, November 25, 2014 —
It’s important to think and act with safety in mind when celebrating the holidays with friends and family, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a message issued yesterday to service members, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families.
The text of the secretary’s message reads as follows:
Historically the department suffers an increased number of preventable off-duty fatalities between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, which are exceptionally heartbreaking during a season devoted to celebrating with friends and family. Before the holidays begin, please reinforce throughout your organizations and activities the importance of safety and the need for good judgment.
During the winter holiday season our service members, civilians, and family members spend more time traveling just when the weather makes the roads more dangerous in many parts of the world. Safety is about doing the right thing. When some choose not to follow the simple rules of the road, they endanger others. Speeding, not using seat belts, and driving while impaired whether because of fatigue or alcohol -- are the three major causes of our off-duty deaths during the holidays. Please make sure your teams know about these real threats that needlessly claim so many lives every year.
Thank you for all that you do in caring for our personnel and their families, particularly over this holiday period. We need every one of them back in 2015 to successfully accomplish our mission to defend this great nation.
Thank you and Happy Holidays