Contact: WisDOT Office of Public Affairs

Wisconsin drivers reminded to protect first responders

In the last five years, Wisconsin averaged more than 125,000 traffic crashes annually. Many of these crashes create a need for emergency response because of property damage or urgent medical needs.

Governor Scott Walker proclaimed November 11 – 17 Traffic Incident Response Week in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will join other organizations in a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the important, dangerous job of crash response.

“If you are driving your priority should always be safety,” WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross said. “If you encounter flashing emergency lights, slow down and move over as soon as possible. First responders risk their lives to respond to highway incidents. Do your part to ensure that they can do their job and get home safe.”

To help safeguard law enforcement officers, emergency responders, road maintenance workers, and others who work on the side of highways, Wisconsin has a “Move Over Law.” The law requires drivers to shift lanes or slow down to provide a “safety zone” for a squad car, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck, utility vehicle, or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.

Between 2013 and 2017, more than 242 crashes annually involved at least one emergency vehicle engaged in an emergency response. There are steps motorists can take to help turn this number around.

With the winter driving season about to begin, 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. Check for updates on road conditions and incidents.

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