BOISE – First responders, who play a critical safety role every day in managing traffic incidents in Idaho, are being recognized throughout the state Nov. 11-17 during Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week, as officially proclaimed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.
These responders help fight rising costs by helping to clear roadways faster and protect drivers.
“These men and women are truly our unsung heroes on the highway,” said Gov. Otter. “They keep commerce in our state moving and ensure we get to work and back home on time. They work all hours of the day and night, and even on holidays, to keep our families and loved ones safe.
“This week, and every week, I encourage motorists to help keep them safe, by slowing down and moving over when you see them doing their jobs.
Roadway incidents can occur at any time and often require police, fire, emergency medical services, tow companies, and transportation workers. In an emergency, those first responders are critical to the protection of life and reduction of secondary crashes.
They also play a critical economic role.
While the cost of traffic incidents has increased by 85% in the last four years according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), responders help to reduce those staggering costs — $6 million average societal cost for a fatal crash, and $126,000 on average for an injury crash.
Those costs include lost earnings, medical bills, emergency services, property damage, and travel delays, among others.
Traffic incident responders in Idaho have contributed substantially to the prompt treatment of patients, clearance of roadways, and increased mobility of travelers. Rubbernecking or blocked lanes from crashes account for up to a quarter of all congestion.
Travelers can in turn protect responders by driving engaged and moving over when incident responders are present. Tragically, traffic incidents are the leading cause of death for EMS responders and law enforcement officers.
“They ensure our safety; we can do our part to ensure theirs,” said ITD Emergency Program Manager Neal Murphy.