Safety products: November 14 to 18, 2016, the American Public Works Association (APWA), along with partner organizations across the nation, is observing Traffic Incident Response Week. The purpose is to raise awareness for protecting the lives of emergency responders working tirelessly across the country saving lives when responding to traffic incidents. Every year hundreds of emergency responders representing public works, fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, towing and transportation agencies, are struck and either injured or killed while responding to traffic incidents.
The week is designated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), with support from the Transportation Incident Management (TIM) Network. The TIM Network’s goal is to connect traffic incident management professionals through a forum to discuss developing issues of national interest, as well as to keep practitioners apprised of the latest industry information and garner input from practitioners.
“Public works professionals are first responders working with police and fire personnel, and are subjected to traffic incidents when called into emergency scenes to assist. This exposure causes increased dangers due to the motoring public’s distraction at the scene, putting Public Works, Police, Fire and Tow operators at at great risk. The need for all responders and maintenance people to be TIM Response trained is a must,” said APWA Board Member and Region II Director Harry L. Weed, II, PWLF of Seaford, NY. Mr. Weed serves as the primary APWA representative to the FHWA TIM Executive Leadership Group.
TIM consists of a planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible. Effective TIM reduces the duration and impacts of traffic incidents and improves the safety of motorists, crash victims, and emergency responders.
“Public works is involved as a valued team member in Traffic Incident Management Response for emergency planning, preparedness, response and recovery activities. Traffic Incident Management Response is critical for public works professionals on a day to day basis as we protect and maintain our country’s critical infrastructure,” said Christine Walsh, Beloit, WI, who has served as a APWA representative to the FHWA TIM Executive Leadership Group for the past 2 years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2014 to 2015, there was an increase of 3.2 percent in the total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the U.S., which is the largest increase since 1992. Further, the total number of police-reported traffic crashes increased by 3.8 percent from 2014 to 2015 and there has been a 7.2 percent increase in incident fatalities, the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years.
"Every city, county and state should participate in this great collaborative effort that will clearly save lives of motorists as well as first-responders," said APWA Executive Director Scott Grayson.
The American Public Works Association is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 29,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, has an office in Washington, D.C. and 63 chapters in North America.