Any member of the Fort McCoy work force -- military or civilian -- who
drives a government vehicle or a leased (General Services
Administration) vehicle is required to take a four-hour defensive
Dave Scafe, a defensive-driver instructor for Griffin Services
Inc., which has the contract to provide Directorate of Support
Services service, said the course was developed by the National Safety
Council. The course certificate is good for four years.
"We try to make it as easy as possible for personnel to
attend," Scafe said. "We usually hold the course at least
three times a month to fit everyone's schedule."
The course helps develop safe driving habits and attitudes and
improves the way motorists see and respond to what happens on the
road. Scafe said the course also is about motorists taking control
over their actions behind the wheel.
Motorists learn to recognize situations that can lead to
accidents and how to avoid them. Attendees also learn how to recognize
road rage - both in themselves and in other drivers - and how to deal
Scafe and fellow instructors, Bob Bruss and Henry Brown, cover
a wide variety of topics and potential traffic scenarios in the
Scafe, for example, imparts experience he has from a 26-year
Naval career and from a law enforcement standpoint. One section of the
course encourages motorists to think what they will gain by passing a
slower moving vehicle. For example, on Highway 21 on the way into work
at Fort McCoy, motorists often can find themselves behind a number of
vehicles that are making their way to a gate entrance.
"You may be tempted to pass them, but what does that gain
you," Scafe said. "You create stress for yourself and the
other drivers. By the time you are going through a gate, you often
find yourself only several car lengths ahead. So what did you really
The course also can be used, in some instances, to help meet
the requirements of adjudicating a traffic ticket. Scafe said some
auto insurance companies also accept successful completion of the
training as a sign of safe driving and will offer policy premium
Jane Schmidt, DSS transportation officer, said the course is
required by Department of Defense Regulation 4500-36-R and by Army
The course is extremely important for motorists ages 26 years
and younger. These personnel are part of the age group that has the
highest number of fatal privately owned vehicle (POV) accidents in the
Army. POV accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in the
Scafe said he recommends the training for everyone in the Fort
McCoy community. The number of vehicle-accident deaths in Wisconsin
reached 838 fatalities in 2003, which was the highest total since
1987. The course is a method to help reverse that trend, he said.
"We try to bring these factors to light," he said.
"We have two video presentations that go over many of the factors
involved in accidents."
Reservations for the courses are required and are accepted on a
first-come, first-served basis. Participants are required to bring
their state driver's licenses to the course. For more information
about course registration, call (608) 388-6535.