By Kaylee LaRocque, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs
NAS JACKSONVILLE, FL (NNS) -- A safety stand down was held for Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) and Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Sailors and civilian employees to remind them to make smart decisions to stay safe over the holiday season.
"This is a particularly dangerous time of year. We had 35 vehicular fatalities within the Navy last year, 20 of those were motorcycle accidents. Of that total, seven were within Navy Region Southeast. Any number above zero is too many," said CNRSE Rear Adm. Jack Scorby Jr. "It's about taking care of yourselves, your shipmates and your families. So look out for one another and be careful out there on the roads."
CNRSE/NAS Jax Safety Officer Ron Williamson also offered some advice to the audience. "There always seem to be more accidents in the holiday season than during the rest of the year. So this safety stand down is a good reminder for everyone to be more vigilant to safety measures, not only on the roads but at home," he said.
The guest speaker for the event was Steve Verret, a master traffic safety instructor and professional stand-up comedian. Verret, who has taught driver safety for more than 25 years, used humor to relay important information regarding vehicle insurance, measures to take to avoid accidents, seatbelt use, open container laws, drinking and driving and using cell phones while driving. As the crowd laughed at his jokes and answered his questions, they took away a wealth of information regarding traffic safety.
Verret stressed the importance of not using cell phones while driving.
"Cell phones are the new DUI. I think they are more dangerous than drunk driving because those who drink and drive normally know they are doing something wrong but those drivers talking on cell phones or texting don't think they are doing anything wrong," said Verret.
"It may or may not be against the law in certain states but when you are on the phone while driving, you are not focused on the road. And, cell phone usage can be used in liability cases if you have an accident so you may not get compensation or someone else may get more compensation," he continued.
For Verret, conducting safety stand downs for military members is an important cause.
"I try to positively reinforce safety every time I conduct one of these events. No matter how many times you tell someone not to drink or drive and to wear their seatbelts, there are still those who either ignore this advice or just don't get it," said Verret. "I try to reach military personnel through these presentations because they do so much for our country and I think it's a shame that someone puts their life on the line overseas and then they come home and do one thing carelessly in their vehicle and they either lose their lives or are injured."
Scorby concluded the stand down by stating, "We have the finest Navy military and civilian forces and I'm proud to serve with you. We need to have all of you back following the holiday season so be careful out there and remember the reason for the season."