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National Traffic Incident Management Week: November 11-17

Slow down and move over! MCDOT reminds drivers to do their part during traffic incidents

See a crash ahead? Slow down and move over. The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) encourages drivers to do their part in keeping roadways safe for everyone during a traffic incident. MCDOT recognizes the week of November 11 as National Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week.

Traffic incidents are responsible for nearly 60 percent of traffic delay on roadways and, according to statewide data, in 2017 there was a vehicle crash approximately every four minutes in Arizona. Nearly half of these crashes involve injuries or fatalities. One in four crashes involving a fatality occurs at an intersection.

“No matter how small, traffic incidents can create unsafe situations on the roadway,” said Jennifer Toth, MCDOT Director. “Everyone plays a role in making sure both the traveling public and the individuals responding to the incident are safe while the situations are resolved.”

MCDOT operates Maricopa County’s Regional Emergency Action Coordination Team (REACT) which provides on-call traffic management on arterial roads within Maricopa County and serving Avondale, Glendale, Peoria, Tolleson, Queen Creek and Scottsdale. The team responds 24 hours a day to incidents that may restrict or close a roadway for more than two hours.

“The goal of the REACT program is to improve safety at an incident scene for everyone involved,” said Mark Brown, Incident Management Specialist with the REACT program. “Our team’s efforts help to minimize the effect to the traveling public by providing traffic control to keep traffic moving. REACT will inform motorists of alternate routes, close traffic lanes and restore traffic flow to normal.”

In the first nine months of 2018, REACT responded to 116 incidents on valley roadways. The majority of REACT requests are to assist with vehicle crashes but other requests include wild land and house fires, homicide scenes, Haz Mat situations, criminal investigations and weather-related damage. On average, an incident lasts about five hours.

More information about the REACT program is available on the MCDOT website at: https://mcdot.maricopa.gov

MCDOT reminds drivers to follow these simple tips when approaching and driving near a traffic incident:

Slow down and move over: Arizona State Law requires motorists to move over or change lanes to allow approaching emergency vehicles with lights and sirens on to continue through. When approaching an incident on the roadway, move over as early as safely possible. Give responders plenty of space to do their jobs and always yield to emergency responders.
Don’t stare: Once near an incident, keep focused on what’s ahead. Rubbernecking is a major cause of sudden slowing of traffic and secondary crashes.
Avoid distractions: Conditions can change quickly during an incident. Put the phone down and avoid other distractions. Use a seatbelt and stay aware of surroundings.

If you plan to share this information on social media, please consider using the following hashags: #SafeIncidents, #MoveOver, #MoveOverSlowDown

See the Arizona TIM Coalition webpage for more information: https://tim.az.gov/ and the specific post about National TIM Week: https://tim.az.gov/content/national-traffic-incident-management-tim-week

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