Every minute of everyday emergency responders across Missouri work tirelessly to help save lives at the scene of traffic incidents. Across the country every year hundreds of emergency responders representing fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, towing and transportation agencies are struck and either injured or killed while responding.
The Federal Highway Administration has declared November 13-19, 2017, as the second annual national Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week. The Missouri Department of Transportation reminds motorists to move over for any vehicle with flashing lights on the highway. It’s the law.
MoDOT’s emergency response crews work to keep our state’s transportation system moving every day. In an average month, MoDOT emergency crews respond to 5,000 traffic incidents.
“MoDOT and its partners in law enforcement, fire, EMS and the towing industry work together to clear incidents but we need the help of motorists,” said MoDOT Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger. “Move over when you see responders on the road and give them extra space to work. Please respect the lives of responders who safeguard you when you are in a crash.”
Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching MoDOT vehicles, law enforcement vehicles and any other emergency vehicle with lights flashing. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, they must slow down as they pass the emergency vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a 7.2% increase in roadway fatalities in 2015 over the previous year. In 2016, another 6% jump was reported. Traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for police officers and EMS responders nationwide.
“When you see lights, vests, reflectors, move over and slow down. Give us room to work,” said Hassinger. “We’ve got your back. Do you have ours?”