Ramstein wing under curfew in bid to curb drunken driving
May 20, 2006
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — More than 3,000 military members assigned to Ramstein Air Base’s 435th Air Base Wing are under an early morning curfew in response to a spate of drunken driving incidents this year, including four last weekend.
The curfew, which began Saturday at 1 a.m., is in effect for two weeks and prohibits airmen from being at establishments whose primary purpose is serving alcohol — basically clubs, pubs and bars — between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The curfew ends at 5 a.m. on June 2, which means that it will span Memorial Day weekend.
Of the 70 infractions this year in the Kaiserslautern Military Community for driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated, troops with the 435th Air Base Wing have committed 14 violations. Last year, there were 179 DUI/DWI violations in the community.
Col. Kurt Lohide, commander of the 435th Air Base Wing, ordered the curfew.
“Colonel Lohide is gravely concerned about the unacceptable risks that members of this organization continue to take by drinking and driving,” said Maj. Mike Blass, chief of public affairs with the 435th Air Base Wing.
Patrols will enforce the curfew, and severe punishment awaits those apprehended for drinking and driving during curfew hours, Blass said. Punishment for those caught simply violating the curfew will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Blass said.
For weeks, a public awareness campaign across the community has sought to reduce DUI violations. A large electronic sign recently placed on the Air Force’s Vogelweh installation tells passers-by not to drink and drive.
Of DUI/DWI incidents in the community this year, 69 percent have occurred between midnight and 6 a.m., Blass said.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people are very responsible,” he said. “They don’t drink and drive. They follow the rules. That less than 1 percent – despite our prevention efforts – continues to jeopardize their safety and the safety of those in the community.”
Three airmen with the 435th Air Base Wing recently received nonjudicial punishment for drunk driving incidents in March and April. All the airmen were reduced in rank, and one was given extra duty and suspended forfeiture of $500 pay for two months, according to the Kaiserslautern American.
If you think you’ve had too much to drink and need a ride home in the Kaiserslautern area, call Armedforces Against Drunk Driving at 0631-536-2233.