The Federal Highway Administration’s second annual Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week runs from November 13 – November 19. 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.
The Missouri Department of Transportation took the opportunity to remind Missouri motorists to move over for first responders. In a news release, MoDOT warned drivers that the law requires highway motorists to get out of the way of any vehicle with flashing lights.
Created in 2002 and expanded in 2012, Missouri law helps provide a safer area for law enforcement, emergency vehicles, and transportation workers as they perform their official duties. Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to approach cautiously when an emergency vehicle displaying red or red and blue lights or a vehicle owned by the state highways and transportation commission displaying lighted amber or amber and white lights is stopped along the side of the road. Motorists must change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if they are on a multi-lane highway and can safely do so. If drivers can’t change lanes safely, or they are on a two-lane highway, they must slow down while maintaining a safe speed so as not to impede other traffic. A violation can result in fines and/or imprisonment.
Emergency responders work tirelessly to ensure the safety of travelers at the scene of traffic accidents. Nationally, hundreds of emergency responders – including fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, towing and transportation services – are struck and either injured or killed while at the site of a traffic incident.
MoDOT works to ensure that traffic continues to move at a normal pace, even when a traffic accident occurs. In an average month, MoDOT emergency personnel respond to 5,000 traffic accidents. “MoDOT and its partners in law enforcement, fire, EMS and the tow 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.” Hassinger continued, “When you see lights, vests, reflectors, move over and slow down. Give us room to work. We’ve got your back. Do you have ours?”
MoDot encourages Missouri motorists who wish to know more about the second annual Traffic Incident Response Awareness week to visit the national website at http://timnetwork.org/traffic-incident-response-awareness-week/ or the state website at www.modot.org.
What to Do After a Car Accident
First, make sure to get any injury properly treated and document those injuries. Second, give statements only to police enforcement. Do not give a statement to the other party’s insurance investigator or adjuster. Furthermore, do not sign any documents, such as medical authorizations, from the insurance company. Third, preserve any evidence of the accident by taking pictures of the damage. Finally, get a free consultation with an attorney you trust. Learn more about our tips on what to do if you’re in car accident.
The legal team of Bley & Evans Trial Attorneys has experience representing the interests of those who have been injured in car accidents. If you have been injured or would like more information about this topic, contact the firm at (844) 443-8385.