National Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) is November 13-17, 2023. The Federal Highway Administration sponsors this initiative to raise public awareness and help keep roadway responders and the public safe around traffic incidents.
Emergency responders, including police officers, firefighters, EMS personnel, tow truck operators, and highway workers, consistently risk their lives attending to crash scenes on Missouri’s highways. Their efforts are critical to managing traffic incidents, assisting motorists, and maintaining the flow of traffic.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that traffic incidents are the most significant cause of fatalities among EMS responders and law enforcement officers. To highlight the risks these responders face, the FHWA has designated November 13-17 as National Crash Responder Safety Week.
Chris Engelbrecht, the Safety and Emergency Management Director at the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), emphasizes the importance of driver awareness during this week. He encourages motorists to honor the state’s move-over law, minimize distractions, and reduce speed near emergency scenes to protect the responders who safeguard the public.
Missouri’s Move Over law mandates that drivers either switch lanes or decelerate when approaching stationary emergency vehicles with activated flashing lights. This statute aligns with similar laws across all 50 states, aiming to shield those who serve from harm.
In the previous year, Missouri experienced over 54,000 traffic accidents requiring emergency services. MoDOT’s emergency personnel, on average, handle upwards of 4,500 traffic-related incidents monthly.
National Crash Responder Safety Week serves not only to urge adherence to the Move Over law but also to inform drivers about accident prevention and endorse essential training for traffic incident management professionals.
Engelbrecht reminds the public of the ultimate goal: ensuring both responders and drivers can safely return to their families each day.