What does this week mean for you and me?
It’s a reminder that ALL travelers must slow down, move over, and allow emergency vehicles to pass when they see flashing lights ahead or behind them.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) declared November 13 – 19, Traffic Incident Response Week, to highlight the important work that first responders do and keeping them safe as they save lives.
Who are first responders?
First responders are the people who respond to traffic incidents on our roadways and help to keep them clear. Seattle Police, Seattle Fire Department, and SDOT all have responders who are part of a highly-coordinated effort to ensure that traffic doesn’t jeopardize the safety of victims, other drivers, and first responders themselves.
Do Your Part.
Allow emergency vehicles to pass so first responders like firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and police officers can get to the scene of an accident as quickly as they can. Traffic incidents are the number one cause of death of police officers and EMTs. For example, every year in the U.S., a tow truck operator is killed every 6 days.
So, in addition to following the rules of the road by slowing down and pulling over to clear the way for first responders, there’s another simple, yet key rule to follow. If there are no injuries to the driver and the car is operable, the law — known as Steer It Clear It— requires you to move the vehicle off the roadway to a shoulder or parking area as soon as possible.
It’s common sense. The Steer It Clear It law:
- Increases your personal safety and that of others around you,
- Reduces the time it takes to clear the crash,
- Reduces the chance of a secondary crash,
- Increases the safety of emergency crews, and
- Reduces delay and congestion.
Please take the time to honor first responders this week, but also recognize that we all have a role to play in keeping them safe.