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GOV drivers need to respect, obey rules

Senior Airman Octavio Ortega, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance customer service representative, works on a damaged government owned vehicle Sept. 6.

Senior Airman Octavio Ortega, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance customer service representative, works on a damaged government owned vehicle Sept. 6.

Aviano Air Base, Italy -- Base leadership has expressed concern in the rash of government-
owned vehicle accidents.

During the last two fiscal years, Aviano has had more than 690 GOV accidents - the highest amount in U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

"People should take a little pride in ownership and see [GOVs] as tools to do their job," said Senior Master Sgt. Wayne Potter, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance superintendent. "They should slow down, pay attention and take care of our GOVs."

The wing spent more than $300,000 last fiscal year in parts and man-hour costs stemming from GOV accidents. This is in addition to the costs incurred from vehicle downtime.

"That's money that the base could have used for 'quality of life' improvements and other projects," said Master Sgt. Van Vandenheuvel, 31st LRS vehicle maintenance superintendent. "Most people don't understand that the units pay for vehicle repair, and the squadron loses that vehicle for a minimum of 10 days for repairs."

The 31st LRS Vehicle Maintenance Flight's 'inbound for maintenance' lot is near capacity - a number that hovers at around 80 because the base averages a little more than one GOV accident per day.

Master Sgt. Mike Skipper, 31st LRS vehicle management and analysis foreman, said most of these accidents are preventable.

"[Many base people] treat these vehicles like it's a rental," he said. "But they should care - it's the taxpayer's money.
"Don't just take the keys from someone and drive away. Once you've done that, you've taken responsibility," he said. "You should check the vehicle out before you drive away."

Sergeant Skipper added that the vehicle maintenance shop staff is already undermanned and dealing with vehicle accidents triples their workload.

"It's a heavy burden," he said. "It's pretty substantial seeing
the amount of accidents that come through here.
"Take accountability for what you're doing - the extra workload is unnecessary because our goal is to keep vehicles out of our shop."