The Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol have signed the Missouri Open Roads Agreement, a first-of-its-kind document that provides guidance to emergency responders clearing incidents from Missouri highways.
In the agreement, the agencies adopted a goal to clear traffic incidents safely from the roadway in no more than 90 minutes from the arrival of the first responder.
MoDOT, MSHP and other emergency responders are calling on drivers to do their part by staying alert, slowing down and, when possible, moving over to give them room to work. To remind motorists what’s on the line, the Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of Nov. 8-14 as Crash Responder Safety Week.
“Traffic congestion is a growing problem in Missouri, and we know most of it is related to incidents like crashes, stalled vehicles and debris,” said Ed Hassinger, MoDOT deputy director and chief engineer. “The Open Road Agreement will help strengthen the joint efforts of Missouri’s emergency responders to quickly and safely clear our highways of these incidents and get traffic back to normal.”
There were more than 131,000 traffic crashes in Missouri in 2020. As part of MoDOT’s work to maintain a safe and reliable transportation system, the department’s emergency response personnel respond to more than 6,000 traffic incidents each month on average.
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"Every day, first responders place themselves in danger along Missouri roadways investigating crashes, assisting stranded motorists and enforcing traffic laws," said Colonel Eric Olson, MSHP superintendent. "Please slow down, move over and give them room to work."
When motorists approach any responders or emergency vehicles on the side of the highway with flashing lights, they should move over. Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to either change lanes or slow down when approaching stationary MoDOT, law enforcement or other emergency vehicles with flashing lights. To help protect those who protect us, all 50 states enforce some form of the Move Over law.
For more information about Crash Responder Safety Week and what drivers can do to protect Missouri’s emergency responders, visit savemolives.com.