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Nov. 14, 2022

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This Crash Responder Safety Week, Toward Zero Deaths Partners Asks Drivers to Respect Our Roadside Heroes by Observing Safe Driving Practices

Using hashtag #RoadsideHeroes, first responders—as well as drivers who have received their support—are encouraged to share their personal stories

ROSEVILLE, Minn. – During Crash Responder Safety Week, Nov. 14-18, Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program partners will highlight stories from local responders on the risks they take to keep our roadways safe and clear.

Minnesota TZD works every day with a range of partners, including firefighters, emergency medical services, law enforcement, towing and recovery, public works and safety service patrols. In turn, traffic incident responders apply well-rehearsed procedures to provide emergency traffic control and quickly clear incidents from roadways.

“With many responses, we stand along the road with cars and trucks driving by at 80 miles per hour or more,” said Sgt. Rick Denneson, West Hennepin Public Safety Department. “In spotlighting response experiences in Minnesota, we want drivers to understand the risks that we take every day, and the importance of slowing down and moving over when they pass.”

Stories like these emphasize why the Federal Highway Administration collaborates on Crash Responder Safety Week with national partners, states, and local responders to reduce the number of traffic incident responders injured or killed in the line of duty. From January through October of this year, 40 traffic incident responders have been killed nation-wide, and far more sustained life-altering injuries.

This national event leverages attention to promote Slow Down, Move Over law awareness for drivers, and free Traffic Incident Management training for responders:

1. When passing an incident scene, motorists are asked to slow down and, if possible, move over into an adjacent lane to provide a protective buffer for responders and the motorists behind you.

2. Local responders are encouraged to take the free National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder training from the FHWA to stay updated on best practices: http://bitly.com/TIMtrain. Nationwide, more than 600,000 responders have been trained to date through free in-person, online instructor-led, or online self-paced curriculum. Far more have yet to be TIM trained.

“While drivers can make a big difference through their vigilance, training is also a critical part of the effort to save lives, reduce injuries and decrease traffic incident clearance times. Minnesota has conducted more than 275 in-person responder training presentations during the past 20 years, reaching an estimated 15,000 Minnesota responders,” according to John McClellan, Regional Transportation Management Center Freeway Operations Supervisor.  

“And the SceneSafe responder training video, produced jointly by The Minnesota departments of Transportation and Public Safety and the Minnesota Fire Chiefs Association, has been viewed more than 40,000 times on YouTube," added McClellan.  

The Minnesota Departments of Health, Public Safety and Transportation are anchoring partners of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response — and everyone doing the right thing when driving.