Missouri transportation officials say hundreds of emergency responders are struck or killed each year nationwide while responding to traffic crashes.
Traffic incidents are the number one cause of death among law enforcement and EMS responders nationwide, according to the Missouri Transportation Department’s Linda Wilson Horn.
“In the last ten years, MoDOT has lost three of our emergency response employees who’ve been helping in an incident on the side of the road, and the Highway Patrol has lost three as well in that same time period,” says Wilson Horn.
Missouri’s Move Over law requires motorists to change lanes when approaching MoDOT vehicles, law enforcement vehicles and any other emergency vehicle with flashing lights.
“So anytime you see a vehicle with lights flashing, you need to slow down, move over a lane and give those folks room to do their job and help the person that they’re trying to rescue,” Wilson Horn says.
The Federal Highway Administration has declared this as the first national traffic incident response awareness week. Wilson Horn says traffic incident fatalities nationwide increased seven percent from 2014 to 2015, the largest percentage increase in almost 50 years.
Wilson Horn notes MoDOT emergency crews respond to about 5,500 traffic incidents each month.