Forest Heath: Overtaking ban for US personnel

AIRMEN have been warned they face losing privileges if they overtake any vehicle travelling at more than 30mph on a number of the county’s roads.

The move by bosses at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall comes in the wake of four accidents involving base personnel in the past month.

The joint directive prohibits US service personnel from passing any vehicle other than those travelling at less than 30mph.

The roads affected are the A1101 between Littleport and Bury St Edmunds; the B1065 between Brandon and Five Ways; the B1112 between Icklingham and Feltwell; the B1107 between Brandon and Thetford; the C620 Wangford Road between the A1065 and B1112; Sedge Fen Road connecting the B1112 near Lakenheath village and the A1101; Holywell Row Road connecting with the A1101; and the B1112.

Any airman found in breach of the no-passing policy faces action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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Most of the roads affected are de-restricted highways, except through towns and villages, where a 30mph limit is standard.

Base bosses say if drivers must pass a slow-moving vehicle, they must do so only when and where overtaking is safe and allowed by law. They have urged their staff only to overtake on straight roads.

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“With spring approaching and folks thinking that the roads are getting safer, we must continue to emphasise that the most dangerous thing that airmen do on a daily basis is drive to and from work,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Alexander, 48th Fighter Wing chief of safety.

Two of the four recent accidents involving base personnel – none of which resulted in serious injury –involved drivers swerving to avoid animals.

“Though we truly care about our feathered or furry friends, the cost of losing one of our airmen or our loved ones is greater. If you see an animal in the roadway, do not swerve to miss it,” said Senior Master Sergeant James Middleton, 48th Fighter Wing safety superintendent. “You are irreplaceable to us and your family.”

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