MoDot, MSHP highlight dangers they face during traffic stops -

MoDot, MSHP highlight dangers they face during traffic stops

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It’s National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week and officials all over are highlighting the dangers emergency responders face when assisting on traffic incidents.

Each month, the Missouri Department of Transportation works an average of 5,500 traffic incidents across the state.  Yet in the last decade, MoDot has seen three responders die while on those assignments.

The Missouri Highway Patrol has also seen three troopers killed during that same time frame.  Officials say that is unacceptable.

“(Drivers) need to pay attention to what they’re doing,” Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum said. “If they’re paying attention and they see those lights off in the distance you should automatically turn that left turn signal on, change lanes, pass and then get back over.  It’s the law.”

“A lot of times people will move over at the very last second,” MoDot emergency response supervisor Nate Bowen said. “And that’s the scariest point for me with my guys out there.  I’ve seen too many times where they’ve almost been hit.”

Traffic incidents are the number one cause of death of EMS/EMT responders and the number one cause of death for police officers.

“The whole purpose is to bring attention that when you see the lights out there as a motorist move over, get over a lane out there.  That’s our only defense out there.  We have everyone’s back out there.  We hope the public has our back out there,” MoDot Incident Management Coordinator Owen Hasson said.

If you cannot change lanes safely, you must slow down as you pass the emergency vehicles.  The law applies to law enforcement, emergency vehicles and transportation workers as perform their duties.  

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