SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – When a serious traffic crash happens, first responders from different agencies are all working to save lives. The most important factor in such an emergency is communication. Responders were able to practice that communication in a traffic incident management exercise this afternoon.
Missouri first lady Teresa Parson shared why first responder safety is so close to her heart.
Traffic incidents are actually the leading cause of death for EMS responders and law enforcement officers.
So today, the Missouri Department of Transportation wants to remind everyone to slow down and move over, with this mock accident, not only for practice but to show everyone how much space they really need on the road.
“This is stuff that we handle on a regular basis, just always good to train upon it, find out any weaknesses and typically that’s with communication, so this works on building our communication skills,” Trooper Sam Carpenter said.
Carpenter says this scene shows how crews need a lot of space to work.
“You can’t be in a hurry going through these scenes,” Carpenter said. “On the interstate, the speed limit is 70 miles an hour, and nobody survives that.”
At the conference, after the training exercise Missouri’s first lady Teresa Parson, and others, shared their experience of losing someone.
“My brother Rick was an EMT, and he enjoyed his work very much,” Parson said.
“He was struck and killed by a traveling motorist,” Parson said. “And he left behind three teenage sons. And each and every day something reminds me of my brother.”
“I’m sure that afternoon, Sept. 2, 2005, Rick’s getting ready for work like we all do, shaving, cleaning up,” Captain Rocky Seiner, from Christian County Sheriff’s Office, said. “I doubt truly that as he looked in the mirror, he felt, this is my last day.”
“One of our trucks have been hit, one of the employees that I’ve saw that morning before the shift was killed,” Bruce Pettus, incident manager at MoDOT said.
“The patrol is no stranger to having troopers hit while working alongside our highways,” Captain John Hotz, from Missouri State Highway Patrol said. “In my career, we’ve lost six troopers, and countless others have been struck while working alongside our highways.
We’re doing our part to make the roadway safer, and we ask that each driver do their part so that we can go home safely.”
They said it’s up to us as drivers to keep everyone safe.
“94 percent of serious injuries and deaths happening on our highways are caused by human behavior,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. “94 percent. Almost every crash is preventable.”
“Despite the precautions that we take, and the advancements in technology that we’ve seen, we know ultimately our safety is on the hands-on Missouri motorists,” Captain Hotz said.
“Some of you may recall if any of you been around a golfer, from time to time, I use them regularly, it’s called a mulligan,” Captain Seiner said. “It’s called a do-over, right? When first responders are on the road, performing their duties, we don’t have a do-over. So please, move over.”
As of right now, on average, MoDOT responds to around 6,000 incidents per year.
For more statistics from MoDOT click here.