Fiscal 1996 DoD Accident Rates Lowest Ever
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 1996 Despite an increase in fatalities caused by aviation accidents, defense officials declared 1996 its safest year ever.
Officials said on-duty fatalities -- which include military members, DoD civil service employees and bystanders -- dropped from 206 deaths in 1995 to 171. Off-duty accidental military deaths dropped from 376 to 293, also an all-time low. The largest improvement was in the reduction of private motor vehicle fatalities.
DoD statistics also show a decrease in lost aircraft due to accidents, as well as a decrease in accident rate per 100,000 flying hours. Defense Secretary William Perry said he views this success as noteworthy considering the current operational tempo, the department's worldwide deployments and the continuing restructuring. "The department is particularly proud of the continued reductions in this harm to our people, he said."
Most on-duty fatalities came from plane crashes, an increase from 85 to 108. The crash of the military plane carrying former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and his traveling party last spring in Croatia claimed 34 lives.
Still, the number of aircraft lost to accidents reached an all-time low of 67, down two from the previous year. The aircraft major accident rate dropped from 1.53 to 1.5 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. Officials said this continues a steady six-year declining accident trend.