In order to remind drivers of the dangers faced by emergency responders, the week of November 11 through November 17, 2018, has been named National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) (National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week is Nov. 11-17). The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is encouraging Missouri motorists to remember to move over whenever they encounter emergency vehicles with flashing lights.
“Working on the side of the highway is a dangerous place,” said Ed Hassinger, MoDOT’s Chief Engineer. “Our partners in law enforcement, fire, EMS, and the tow industry work together to clear incidents, but we need the help of motorists. Move over when you see responders on the road and give them extra space to work.”
MoDOT emergency response teams offer assistance to nearly 6,000 traffic incidents during a typical month. Three MoDOT emergency response employees have been killed on the job over the last ten years.
Accidents while responding to traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for police and emergency personnel across the country, according to numbers compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Hundreds of EMS, law enforcement, fire, towing, and transportation representatives are killed or injured every year while responding to traffic accidents.
Under Missouri’s Move Over law, drivers are required to decrease their speed or change lanes when coming up on stopped law enforcement, MoDOT, and emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights. If motorists are unable to change lanes in a safe manner, they must slow down to pass the stationary vehicles.
“Incidents happen at any time of the day in all sorts of conditions and there’s not enough time to go out there and get a full work zone set up, so these responders are out there without a lot of protection. They rely on drivers to move over and slow down to help protect them and let them go home at night,” said MoDOT Assistant Maintenance and Traffic Engineer Brian Untiedt.
Since the first Move Over law was enacted in South Carolina in 1996, all fifty states have passed laws requiring drivers to slow down or change lanes to avoid emergency vehicles. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, please contact SJB for a free consultation. We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.