Iowa DOT and Iowa State Patrol Discuss Crash Response for National Crash Responder Safety Week

Nov. 16, 2022
The Iowa Department of Public Safety urges drivers to slow down and move over when approaching an accident

In a press release released on Monday by the Iowa Department of Public Safety, it discusses that drivers should focus on the road and slow down when an accident occurs.

“When a crash happens, our first priority is to work with emergency medical services to make sure all victims are quickly treated and out of harm’s way because it is not unusual for vehicles to not slow down or move over,” said Col. Nathan Fulk, Chief of the Iowa State Patrol. “Our troopers then investigate the crash and work with the Iowa DOT, local firefighters, our towing partners, and others to clear the crash scene as quickly as possible to reduce the likelihood of additional crashes that often occur due to drivers paying more attention to the initial crash scene than to the task of driving.” 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 65 first responders died in traffic-related incidents in 2021 across the United States. Keeping this in mind, many states have enacted a "Move Over" law which encourages drivers to slow down and move over when approaching an accident scene. However, national data shows that nearly 30 percent of people are unaware that these laws exist.

In 2002, Iowa enacted a "Move Over" law to help protect responders and motorists. It was expanded in 2018 to include not only emergency vehicles but any vehicle alongside the road with flashing lights, including passenger vehicles, tow trucks, utility company vehicles and garbage trucks.

Scott Marler, Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, “In Iowa, we have collaborative groups that actively pursue traffic incident management training to make incident scenes safer for you and for the responders. The concept is to bring all types of responders TOGETHER in one room – similar to a pit crew at a Nascar race – everyone knows his or her job and it is done efficiently and in a coordinated manner.” 

Iowa is encouraging drivers that come up on a crash scene or any vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights to slow down and move over when possible. 


Source: Iowa Department of Public Safety