MONTGOMERY, Ala.– The Alabama Department of Transportation is asking responders and the motoring public to learn more about how to stay safe on incident scenes as part of national Crash Responder Safety Week November 13 – 17, 2023.
Each year, countless dedicated individuals in the emergency services rush to the scenes of roadway incidents, often placing their own lives at risk to safeguard the lives of others. Crash Responder Week provides a platform to acknowledge their tireless efforts and to create awareness about the challenges they face in their line of duty.
“ALDOT crews, law enforcement, fire department personnel, tow truck drivers and others work roadside often inches from cars and trucks going by sometimes 80 miles per hour or more,” said Allison Green, Drive Safe Alabama Coordinator, ALDOT. “We want drivers in Alabama to understand the risks that these responders take every day and the need for every vehicle passing by any traffic incident to slow down, move over, and stay alert.”
As part of its traffic incident management program, ALDOT provides the Alabama Service and Assistance Patrol (ASAP) service. ASAP improves highway safety and minimizes traffic congestion by assisting stranded motorists and providing special equipment to clear and protect incident scenes. ASAP drivers work along heavily traveled segments of the interstates near Birmingham, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Auburn and Montgomery.
For greater efficiency and effectiveness in locating and safely clearing disruptions to restore traffic flow, ASAP drivers work with their local ALDOT traffic management center, law enforcement and other emergency responders.
ALDOT offers these safety tips for first responders and drivers:
- Update Training – All incident responders should sign up for the national Traffic Incident Management (TIMS) training program to improve traffic incident responder safety and reduce traffic congestion. The program is being offered in Alabama to law enforcement, firefighters, state and local departments of transportation, towing and medical personnel. First responders who would like to attend the 2023 course can sign up for the TIMS training at https://www.alabamatim.org/registration.html
- Follow Quick Clearance Procedures – Responders should be aware of laws and procedures created to restore the safe and orderly flow of traffic when there is an incident on the ALDOT and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency have an Open Roads Policy. This agreement between the two state agencies includes expediting the removal of vehicles, cargo and debris from roadways on the Alabama State Highway System.
- If you can steer it, clear it. If a vehicle is drivable and there are no injuries or fatalities, Alabama state law allows the driver to move their vehicle to a safe place off the roadway.
- Slow down and move over when passing by an incident scene to provide a protective barrier for responders and the motorists behind you. Alabama’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching ALDOT vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, tow trucks 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. Drivers can get a ticket if they don’t slow down and move over.