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Base DUI rate drops nearly 40 percent

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airman 1st Class Edward Grant and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Lewis, 374th Security Forces Squadron, conduct a random vehicle check on base here Saturday. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ruth Curfman)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airman 1st Class Edward Grant and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Lewis, 374th Security Forces Squadron, conduct a random vehicle check on base here Saturday. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ruth Curfman)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota Air Base incurred nearly 40 percent fewer drinking and driving incidents in 2006 as compared to 2005.

According to DUI statistics supplied by the 374th Security Forces Squadron, the number of incidents went from 21 in 2005 to only 13 in 2006, a 38 percent reduction.

"This outstanding accomplishment is a great example of the Yokota community embracing the Wingman culture - a culture of responsible choices," said Col. Scott Goodwin, 374th Airlift Wing commander. "Not only should our commanders and front line supervisors be proud of this achievement, but I also commend the Airmen and NCOs, family members and friends who encouraged one another to do the right thing. This is a great success story we can all be proud of."

Although no one particular source can be credited for the significant reduction, many programs may have contributed to the overall success including the 374 SFS and the base's 225-RIDE program.

"In an effort to deter people from getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking, the Security
Forces Squadron has increased the number of checkpoints around base," said Senior Master Sgt. James O'Neil, 374 SFS operations superintendent. "We will continue to conduct these checks, which will help keep the Yokota streets safe."

Additionally, the 225-RIDE program may also have been instrumental in last year's success.

"We receive approximately 2,000 calls each year," said Ms. Love Wright, 225-RIDE program coordinator. "We figure that each call we respond to, we potentially save anywhere from one to five people's lives."

In recent years, the number of DUIs at Yokota have significantly dropped. In 2004, the base had 20 incidents, however in 2003, the base incurred 46 DUIs.

"These numbers include all base community members," said David Edenfield, 374 SFS, chief of plans and programs. "Basically, we are counting anyone having access to the base and although even one DUI is too many, reducing these numbers by nearly 40 percent is a great achievement."

"I would like to thank the Yokota community for stepping up and making responsible choices in 2006," added Col. Goodwin. "Let's keep up the good work and maintain the momentum in 2007."