Every year, there are more than 116,000 traffic crashes on average throughout the State of Wisconsin. Many of these crashes create a need for emergency response because of property damages or urgent medical needs.
Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed November 13 – 19 as Traffic Incident Response Week. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) joins other organizations in a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the important, dangerous job of crash response.
“Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross. “As crash scenes can often become just as dangerous as a crash itself, we ask that drivers take extra caution whenever they see flashing emergency lights. We want everyone on the road to make it home safely and remember to slow down and move over.”
Wisconsin averages more than 200 crashes annually involving at least one emergency vehicle that’s engaged in an emergency response. There are steps motorists can take to help turn this number around.
- Slow down and move over when passing by an incident scene to provide a protective buffer for responders, and the motorists behind you.
- If you can steer it, clear it. Many drivers think they should not move their car if they are involved in a fender-bender or crash. If (and only if) your car is drivable and there are no injuries, you should move your car to the shoulder or nearby safe place off of the road before calling for help.
- Plan ahead. Know before you go with 511wi.gov for updates on road conditions and incidents.
- Visit www.wisconsindot.gov/staysafe to learn more about safe driving tips, links to best practices for winter road safety, and the law.
Especially with the winter driving season beginning to take shape, Traffic Incident Response Week is a timely reminder about the need for every driver to plan ahead, be patient and exercise additional caution on the road. WisDOT asks that interested parties join the discussion on social media using hashtags #SafetyWeekWI as well as the national campaign’s hashtags:
- WisDOT has partnered with emergency responders from around the state to produce a special message on traffic incident safety that will be included in the department’s social media starting Monday, November 13.
- Tuesday, November 14, WisDOT and the I-39/90 Expansion Project will host a special event to honor first responders who handle incidents along the I-39/90 corridor, between Beloit and Madison. Those responders are invited to a recognition event and will showcase some of the equipment used in incidents. A media availability in Edgerton is being scheduled for 11:30 a.m. that day. For more details, contact Steve Theisen, (608) 884-1230, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wednesday, November 15, WisDOT will be participating in a “tweet along” with drivers of the state highway safety patrols to help give the public a closer understanding of the day-to-day highway safety operations. In 2016, Wisconsin’s highway safety patrol efforts made more than 13,000 stops to aid motorists during a total of nearly 27,000 patrol hours. Posts about the day in the life of these services will be posted to the @511WI twitter account. For more information about the patrols, visit wisconsindot.gov/safetypatrol
About Traffic Incident Response Week
National Traffic Incident Response Week was designated by the Federal Highway Administration, with administration and support from the TIM Network. The goal of the TIM Network is to connect traffic incident management (TIM) professionals to provide a forum to discuss developing issues of national interest, keep practitioners apprised of the latest industry information, and garner important input from practitioners.
TIM consists of a planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible. Effective TIM reduces the duration and impacts of traffic incidents and improves the safety of motorists, crash victims, and emergency responders.
Wisconsin recognizes the importance of TIM in maintaining the operational safety and efficiency of the state’s roadways. In 1995, the state initiated the Traffic Incident Management Enhancement (TIME) Program, which is a comprehensive multi-agency, multi-discipline program, led by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), dedicated to:
- Improving responder safety
- Enhancing the safe, quick clearance of traffic incidents
- Supporting prompt, reliable, and interoperable communications
For more information on WisDOT’s TIM practices visit http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/who-we-are/dtsd/bto/stoc/time.aspx.