NewsProject: Drive Safer


Troopers remind drivers to 'Slow Down and Move Over' during kickoff to Crash Responder Safety Week

Since 2017, 377 first responders were hurt while working in an emergency vehicle or at a crash site and 8 have been killed.
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Posted at 4:39 PM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 19:30:49-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Monday marked the first day of Crash Responder Safety Week, recognizing the critical role of first responders and the dangers they face working at scenes on the side of the road.

It's why the Wisconsin State Patrol is asking drivers statewide to slow down, move over and drop the distractions when they see emergency workers roadside.

"It is very stressful. When you're on scene, you're trying to get the scene cleared as quickly and safely as you can, but you also always have to be cognizant of all the traffic around you and you also have to be aware that some drivers are not being as aware as they should be," said Trooper Carlin Brien.

He said it is every driver's responsibility to follow the law, which requires you to slow down and move over when there are first responders working on the side of the road.

Troopers remind drivers to 'Slow Down and Move Over'

Another new law, signed less than a year ago, hopes to protect first responders by banning cell phone use near crash sites and doubling fines for violations that lead to an injury in an emergency response area.

"There have been several Wisconsin State Troopers who have lost their lives in the line of duty from being struck by other vehicles while they're on the scene of the crash or major incident," said Brien.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, since 2017, 377 first responders were hurt while working in an emergency vehicle or at a crash site and eight have been killed.

The job is also dangerous for two truck drivers.

"According to data from the CDC, the towing industry has a fatality rate 15 times higher than all other private industries," said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA.

He agrees with Trooper Brien that slowing down, moving over, and dropping distractions is critical to creating safer roads.

"By giving yourself that proper amount of time to react to something, by staying focused and driving at an appropriate speed, that's going to keep everyone safer," he said.

Important reminders as we head into the holiday season, that every first responder has a goal of making it home to their family at the end of their shift.

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