PHOENIX – From minor incidents on high-volume freeways to serious collisions on lightly-traveled rural roads and everything in between, Traffic Incident Management keeps the traveling public moving and safe after incidents occur.
This week, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety join other states and municipalities across the country in recognizing Traffic Incident Response Week.
Nearly 350 vehicle crashes occur every day in Arizona and most will be visited by emergency responders, which can include law enforcement, fire departments, medical services, transportation crews and tow trucks. Different responders have different duties on scene – some tend to victims and others gather information about the incident, while others removed damaged vehicles and clear space to make travel safer for other motorists – but all are practicing Traffic Incident Management (TIM).
“Safety is our top priority and when there’s an incident we’re looking out for three groups of people,” said Derek Arnson, ADOT’s Traffic Management Group manager. “The people involved in the crash, the emergency responders and the traveling public. TIM practices and strategies help us keep those people safe and traffic moving.”
The traveling public can contribute to that safety – for themselves and others – in two simple ways: “Quick Clearance” and “Move Over.”
“Quick Clearance” is a state law that requires a driver involved in a minor crash without injuries to remove their vehicle from the roadway if it is operable and can be moved safely. No one wants to be in this situation, but with a vehicle crash occurring about every four minutes in Arizona, everyone should know how best to stay safe following a minor, non-injury collision.
“First responders throughout Arizona use TIM strategies to improve citizen and responder safety, reduce secondary collisions and reduce traffic congestion,” said Major Deston Coleman of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol Division. “Traffic Incident Management includes training, equipment, technologies and best practices that improve efficiency and effectiveness during large- and small-scale incidents that affect Arizona roadways. The teamwork of law enforcement, fire, EMS, towing, transportation and public safety agencies shows Arizona’s leadership and commitment to safety while improving quality of life. Citizens can carry out their daily activities, goods and freight supporting Arizona’s economy get to their destinations, and people go home safely. It’s a win for everyone.”
Arizona’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to move over one lane – or slow down if it’s not safe to change lanes – when approaching any vehicle with flashing lights pulled to the side of a road or highway.
Remember, if you are involved in a crash, the first action to take is to make sure you and occupants in your vehicle are OK. Then, if your vehicle is operable, move to the emergency shoulder, median or exit the highway and call 911. Stay out of travel lanes, be alert and watch approaching traffic. Never leave the scene of a crash.