An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Safety Promotions : News
NEWS | Sept. 27, 2023

Navy Wraps Up Critical Days of Summer Campaign

By Rebecca Coleman, Naval Safety Command Safety Promotions

The Department of the Navy’s annual 101 Critical Days of Summer (CDOS) campaign wrapped up Sept. 5. An initial analysis of this year’s summer mishaps revealed a positive outcome in one area along with others which still require our vigilance and attention.

During the 15-week campaign, which runs from Memorial Day weekend through the end of Labor Day Weekend, driving on the roads remained a risky endeavor for our Sailors and Marines.

There were 27 private motor vehicle (PMV) fatalities, including pedestrian related - 14 Navy and 13 Marine Corps. To break it down further:
  • 14 were motorcycle related (11 Navy and three Marine Corps)
  • Motorcycle fatalities increased from last year when there were eight fatalities during the same timeframe.
  • Four-wheeled motor vehicle fatalities decreased from 15 in 2022 to 12 in 2023.
Naval Safety Command (NAVSAFECOM) analysts looked at the last 10 years of data during the 101 CDOS  to identify some of the more common causal factors relating to motor vehicle mishaps.

Between fiscal years 2013 and 2023, excessive speed was the reported leading causal factor of PMV fatalities across the naval services, followed by improper maneuvering. Driver inattention, driving under the influence and incidents where the cause was due to the other driver were other primary causal factors.

Data analysis of reported mishaps further revealed Sailors and Marines, ages 20 to 24, experienced the highest number of PMV fatalities over the 10-year timeframe, with most fatalities occurring on Saturdays followed by Sundays.

The number of PMV fatalities, particularly motorcycle fatalities, continues to be an area of concern, said Chris Cabrera, motor vehicle safety manager for the Shore Safety Directorate at NAVSAFECOM. “In many cases, these are preventable mishaps. Excessive speeding is a continued causal factor we are seeing in many of the reported mishaps and is a behavioral choice made by the rider.”

Cabrera said motorcycle safety training, following the rules of the road, situational awareness and wearing the proper equipment and gear are some of the key elements to enjoying a safe ride.

“Personal accountability is up to each of us to ensure we are being safe and aware,” Cabrera said.

Although the increase in motor vehicle fatalities during this year’s 101 CDOS season highlights the need to emphasize safe driving habits and behaviors, there is good news in the numbers for off-duty recreational mishaps.

“We experienced zero off-duty recreational fatalities,” Cabrera said. “This is an impressive accomplishment considering there were 122 reported mishaps during the 101 Critical Days of Summer.”

In 2022, the Navy and Marine Corps had six off-duty recreational fatalities. This year’s CDOS timeframe was the first time in the past 10 years that there were zero off-duty recreational fatalities.

“The findings from this year’s post-101 CDOS analysis reveals we have work to do to reduce preventable motor vehicle mishaps, NAVSAFECOM Command Master Chief Dean Sonnenberg said. “However, coming through the entire season and not recording a single off-duty recreational fatality reinforces the belief that our Sailors and Marines are employing safe practices and due diligence while enjoying their summertime activities.”

Although the campaign has ended, continued vigilance remains critical to reducing the number of preventable mishaps across the naval enterprise. Reinforcing a safety culture, risk management, training, mentorship and personal responsibility are all instrumental factors toward reaching that goal.