NASCAR Fatality Provides Safety Lesson

by Chris Huffman, past President of the American Institute for Public Safety


A NASCAR Busch Series driver was killed July 18 when the motorcycle he was driving left the road and slammed into a tree.

Andy Kirby, 41, died at 11:30 p.m. in White House, Tenn. , when he lost control of his motorcycle while driving at high speed in a curve.  

The motorcycle slid 174 feet on the pavement before leaving the road and skidding another 42 feet before slamming into a tree.  

Kirby died at the scene.  

Although Kirby was wearing a helmet, he was traveling at a high rate of speed. No drug or alcohol involvement was suspected and weather was not a factor. There were no witnesses to the crash.  

The Army’s “Combat Aggressive Driving Campaign” key messages revolve around eliminating negative high-risk behavior when driving your personal vehicle.  

This tragic example of a professional racecar driver killed while driving his privately-owned vehicle is a lesson for all of us.  

Even though professional drivers are experts at driving fast, they can still make bad decisions and take risks that lead to fatal consequences. Andy Kirby, at work on the track, would take positive high-risk decisions while racing his car.  

Unfortunately, off the track, he chose to make a negative high-risk decision that ended his life while driving his motorcycle. That choice also has an impact on the lives of his wife, three sons, his family and his friends who will feel his loss for the rest of their lives.  

Like racecar drivers, soldiers are trained to take positive high-risk decisions in the line of duty. The problem is soldiers have a tendency to take negative high-risk decisions in their personal lives and while driving, just like Andy Kirby did.  

Do not choose to make negative high-risk decisions when driving your POV. It is just not worth putting your life, or the life of loved ones, at risk for that type of behavior. The choice to take positive risk decisions is yours. Make the right choice and keep you and your family safe while operating your POV.  

Remember, it is not only your life, what you do affects everyone else you touch in your life. If you are killed or injured in a POV accident everyone you know suffers from your loss.Kirby was ranked 36th in the NASCAR Busch Series this year and had started 12 races during 2002.  

Add to your driving attitude “TOOL KIT,” eliminate negative high-risk behavior, IT’S JUST NOT WORTH IT!