NEWS RELEASE

POLICE, FIRE/RESCUE, MDOT, MDTA AND TOW COMPANIES STAGE INCIDENT AT M&T BANK STADIUM TO HIGHLIGHT INCIDENT RESPONDERS’ SAFETY AND STRESS EXPANDED MOVE OVER LAW

Event Part of National Traffic Incident Response Week

(November 13, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) hosted a mock incident involving an overturned tractor trailer at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore today. The training session and press event were part of the National Traffic Incident Response Week, as annual observance to raises awareness of safety for first responders and managers who assist hundreds of thousands of motorists each year.

“Incident responders work along high-speed traffic and have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world,” said MDOT SHA Deputy Administrator for Operations Tim Smith. “Each day, these brave men and women risk their lives to help others, so it’s incumbent upon drivers to move over or slow down when driving past a responder assisting with a crash or disabled vehicle on the side of the road.”

At today’s event, a somber reminder of the danger associated with incident response and management was observed when representatives of American Towman presented their “Spirit Ride.”  The Spirit Ride is a ceremonial casket bearing the emblems of police and fire departments and is a tribute to all responders from all disciplines that have made the ultimate sacrifice during incidents.
 

(MDOT SHA photo: National Traffic Incident Response Week – Baltimore, MD.)

To enhance safety for those who call highways their offices, on October 1, 2018, the Move Over Law in Maryland was expanded to include transportation, service and utility vehicles, as well as waste and recycling trucks with yellow or amber flashing lights or signal devices. These vehicles join the list of protected vehicles under the State’s prior Move Over law, which includes emergency response and law enforcement vehicles, as well as tow trucks.

Incident responders play a critical role in congestion-relief and traffic safety. In 2017, MDOT SHA’s incident response team, CHART (Coordinated Highways Action Response Team), saved motorists more than 38.6 million vehicle hours traveled. CHART responds to an incident (crash or disabled vehicle) every 7.5 minutes.

Rapid response to incidents is crucial to reducing congestion and secondary crashes. Every minute a lane is closed on an interstate at peak drive time, it takes four minutes for the backup to dissipate. Additionally, each minute that passes that a lane is closed during peak travel hours, the chance of a secondary crash increases by 2.8 percent. So, if a lane is blocked for 36 minutes, a secondary crash is likely. The CHART program prevented 515 secondary crashes in 2017.
 
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