Fiscal Year (FY) 2000, which closed out Sept. 30, 2000, was one of the safest years on record for the Department of Defense.
The DoD-wide military Class A aviation accident rate was 1.23 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours for FY 2000 as compared to 1.54 Class A mishap rate in FY 1999, a 20 percent reduction.
The FY 2000 rate is the lowest rate ever recorded by the military. The early 1990's had a rate around 2.0. Class A accidents are those causing death, permanent disability, or more than $1 million in damage to the aircraft or loss of the aircraft.
This year's rate reduction reflects the increased focus the Services have placed on aviation safety programs over the last seven years. The military lost 58 members to aviation accidents in FY 2000, including the tragic Osprey aircraft accident in April 2000, which accounted for 19 deaths.
The Defense Department updates these rates on a daily basis and publicly posts them at https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/ES-Programs/Force/Safety/Accidents/view_report.cgi/.
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has said, "Even one accident is too many, and I will advocate continuous improvement until we reach a goal of zero accidents, occupational illnesses, and fires. This is an ambitious goal, but to endorse any other goal legitimizes the acceptance of harm."
Defense safety officials report that accidental deaths increased in FY 2000 to 113 on-duty deaths (108 deaths in FY 1999) and 322 off-duty deaths (321 in FY 1999). The accidental death rate increased to 33.46 deaths per 100,000 members assigned (30.3 deaths per 100,000 in FY 1999) members assigned.
Privately owned motor vehicle accidents were again the leading cause of death for military members in FY 2000, accounting for 261 deaths. This figure is down from 280 deaths in FY 1999. The military has dramatically reduced the private vehicle deaths from more than 700 per year in the late 1980s.
Motorcycle deaths have been drastically reduced from more than 200 per year in 1985 to 40 in FY 2000. This reduction is attributed to rider skill training and strict base regulations requiring personal protective equipment and training.
In acknowledging DoD's safety record, Cohen challenged the military Services to go even further. "Safety is not something we simply add to the task at hand, it must be an integral part of everything we do - both on- and off-duty," he said.
Accident trend charts are available on DoD's force protection home page at: https://www.denix.osd.mil/denix/Public/Library/SOH/toc.html.
Service safety statistics may be viewed at the following websites:
Army Safety Center http://safety.army.mil/ [link no longer available]
Air Force Safety Center http://http://afsafety.af.mil