Across the country every year, hundreds of emergency responders are injured or killed while responding to incidents on roadways. Traffic incidents are the leading cause of death for emergency responders who represent fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, towing, and transportation agencies such as employees of the Missouri Department of Transportation. That’s why the Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of Monday to Sunday, Nov. 9 to 15, as National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week.
Every year, 200 roadside workers lose their lives in the line of duty, according to AAA. In 2019, Kansas City Scout responded to more than 35,000 incidents on metro roadways. That’s more than 35,000 times a motorist may have had a flat tire, a semi overturned or debris littered a high speed lane. Each time, incident responders put their own safety on the line to clear the incidents and return traffic to normal.
KC Scout is a bi-state traffic management center shared between the Kansas Department of Transportation and MoDOT designed to lessen traffic jams by improving rush hour speeds, increasing safety by decreasing the number of rush hour incidents and improving emergency response to traffic situations by clearing incidents quickly and safely.
“When motorists approach responders or emergency vehicles on the side of the highway with flashing lights, they should move over. In fact, it’s the law,” states a release. “A report from the National Safety Commission revealed 71% of Americans do not know about their state’s Move Over law. Missouri and Kansas both have a Move Over law requires drivers to either change lanes or slow down when approaching stationary emergency vehicle with flashing lights.”
For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, visit www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. MoDOT Kansas City maintains more than 7,000 miles of state roadway in nine counties.