As a recent car accident involving a police cruiser demonstrates, first responder crashes are becoming more and more common. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, there has been an alarming increase in the number of first responder car crash accidents.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently recognized the need to raise awareness of first responder safety by sponsoring Crash Responder Safety Week. “Traffic incident responders are vital to keeping our roadways safe and efficiently moving, and this week provides us with an opportunity to highlight these roadside heroes,” said FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “Though they perform their job without thought of recognition, the quick and safe roadway management they provide has saved countless lives in every corner of the state. As these responders work around the clock to keep us safe, let’s do our part to keep them safe, too.”
The FDOT highlighted the work of their Road Ranger roadside assistance program, noting that these responders work directly along Florida’s busiest roadways. Since 2014, approximately 247 Road Rangers were struck by passing motorists while tending to disabled vehicles, 47 of which resulted in serious injuries.
First Responder Crashes and Road Rangers
The Florida Department of Transportation is implementing strategies to reduce the frequency of first responder crashes and injuries on Florida’s roads caused by Road Rangers. The Lane Closure Notification System, first implemented earlier this year, provides warnings of Road Ranger-related construction through navigation apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps. This way, people are made aware of construction zones and are better equipped to navigate through these.
Road Rangers can now send data to navigation apps that will warn approaching motorists of the presence of an emergency vehicle, allowing them to move over and avoid a collision. Additionally, FDOT continues to explore ways to better equip Road Ranger vehicles with safety measures, to keep the officers out of harm’s way. Tactics like these, among others, are currently being studied and implemented throughout the Road Ranger program and will contribute to making our roads safer for first responders and motorists.
Reducing First Responder Crashes
FDOT urges motorists to help reduce first responder crashes by avoiding distractions while driving, slowing down, being attentive, and moving over a lane when passing Road Rangers and other stopped emergency vehicles on the road, motorists can help protect traffic responders while they assist others.
Driver negligence can be devastating. If you’ve been injured, talk to an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida.