Iowa DOT and Iowa State Patrol talk about crash response for National Crash Responder Safety Week
November 14, 2022
DES MOINES, Iowa – If you are involved in a traffic crash, you’ll likely be relying on a variety of trained professionals to make sure you and everyone else at the scene are as safe as possible. These roadside heroes include our own forces from the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa State Patrol.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 65 first responders died in traffic-related incidents in 2021 in the United States. To keep everyone safer on the road, states across the country have enacted some form of a “Move Over” law to encourage motorists to either slow down or move over when they come up on a crash scene. National data shows that nearly 30 percent of people are unaware that these laws exist.
Iowa’s "Move Over Law" was enacted in 2002 to help protect responders and motorists. It was expanded in 2018 to include not only emergency vehicles but any vehicle alongside the road with flashing lights, including passenger vehicles, tow trucks, utility company vehicles and garbage trucks.
“When a crash happens, our first priority is to work with emergency medical services to make sure all victims are quickly treated and out of harm’s way because it is not unusual for vehicles to not slow down or move over,” said Col. Nathan Fulk, Chief of the Iowa State Patrol. “Our troopers then investigate the crash and work with the Iowa DOT, local firefighters, our towing partners, and others to clear the crash scene as quickly as possible to reduce the likelihood of additional crashes that often occur due to drivers paying more attention to the initial crash scene than to the task of driving.”
Scott Marler, Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, “In Iowa, we have collaborative groups that actively pursue traffic incident management training to make incident scenes safer for you and for the responders. The concept is to bring all types of responders TOGETHER in one room – similar to a pit crew at a Nascar race – everyone knows his or her job and it is done efficiently and in a coordinated manner.”
All the training crash responders receive can be for nothing if motorists don’t do their part. If you are driving and come up on a crash scene or any vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights, SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER when possible.
ABOUT THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.