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Know it, avoid a ticket

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
As Air Force Instructions are written to encompass everything under the umbrella of the United States Air Force, Air Base Wing Instructions were adopted to allow specific bases to develop rules that cater to the base's location, layout and specific regulatory needs.

That said, traffic rules are one among many ABWIs that vary based on location and particular base.

"Our traffic rules here at Andersen generally mirror the local rules," said Capt. Stephen Zeglen, 36th Security Forces Squadron operations officer. "Most of our laws mirror the Guam Code. For the most part, bases should have the same or close to the same laws off base."

According to the 36 SFS monthly trends analysis, a breakdown of how many citations were written and what they were for, base housing parking infractions seem to concentrate on parking too close to an intersection or in a spot that blocks a fire hydrant.

"Generally, the fire hydrants are placed on one side of the road on base housing," said Captain Zeglen. "The general rule is you're not suppose to park on that side."

Another parking concern is that cars parked too close to an intersection tend to block vital parts of other drivers' line of vision.

"If you pull up to a four way stop, the tendency is that the car parked too close to an intersection may block your view of an incoming vehicle from that side of the road," he continued.

Along with these two rules, Captain Zeglen said that it would be good to keep in mind to not park against the flow of traffic and on the side with the narrow shoulder.

Though ABWIs are black and white, just like the AFI, it is reviewed periodically and revised as necessary. There is a committee that is comprised of representatives from civil engineer squadron, security forces and other units that get together and decide various traffic regulations: from parking areas to speed limits.

"We'll adjust the speed limits if it is within reason," said the captain. "For instance, if there is no residential area or schools nearby, we can raise the speed limit from 25 to 30 miles per hour. There have been a couple of these changes in the last year."

Captain Zeglen said that changes like these are usually contrived through concerns brought up during the town hall meetings that the general holds. Representatives from security forces, civil engineer squadron and other units in the traffic committee attend these meetings to hear the concerns of the residents first hand.

"It's a great avenue to voice concerns and address issues," he said.

"The role of Security Forces is to enforce the instruction," continued the captain. "Ultimately, we can't build a new parking lot, but we can have input during the planning meetings and back it up with our trends analysis. If we see an area with a lot of recurring violations, we will present the information to the committee."

Aside from advocating for changes that would help drivers avoid citations, Captain Zeglen stressed that security forces' main concern is enforcing instruction and safety.

"Unlike other agencies, we don't have quotas," said the captain. "There is no reward for us for handing out numerous citations. We are military members. We show up, work our shifts and do our jobs. We don't go to specific areas just to get people. If we know there's a softball game, we're not patrolling that area just to ticket everybody for their parking. Our biggest concern is safety."

Tech. Sgt. Aron Luna, 36th Security Forces Squadron Alpha flight chief, furthers this sentiment by explaining that the number of traffic citations they give out does not directly affect their Airmen's yearly evaluation and that writing up tickets can be a time consuming process.

"There are other things we patrol and make sure is safe and secure," said Sergeant Luna. "But if we see an obvious infraction, our patrolmen will address it."

"The rules are there for safety reasons," he continued. "If there is an infraction, the patrolman has the discretion whether or not to write the ticket, but if it is definitely a safety concern then the citation must be handed."

He suggested that people who get a citation review ABWI 31-204 so that people will understand the instruction they were cited for, be able to see if they were truly in violation of an instruction and also be aware of the other rules of the road.

"Most infractions can probably be resolved or avoided by being informed," said the sergeant.

Captain Zeglen said that despite being brought up in the past, there are no particular projects at the moment pertaining to painting the sidewalks or adding more traffic signs.

"The AFI states that the rule for intersections and fire hydrant remain true regardless of whether or not it is painted," he said. "The main thing is personal accountability through educating one's self."

"Also, give your friends a heads up about where to park or not to park if they're coming over," he continued. "If you see a stranger parking on the wrong side of the road, let the person know. Be informed and look out for the people in our community."

For more information on Andersen AFB traffic regulations, please access the following links:

Andersen AFB Traffic Regulations

Guam Traffic Codes