TRAFFIC SAFETY: Iowa creates Multidisciplinary Safety Team program

Dec. 27, 2016

The traffic safety program is a coordinated effort between multiple agencies to reduce crashes and improve crash responses

Iowa’s Multidisciplinary Safety Team (MDST) program, a coordinated traffic safety effort between the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), and the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, is the first of its kind in the country.

Before a crash or emergency or after one occurs, there are a number of professionals in the area of emergency management; first responders such as fire and emergency medical; engineers; law enforcement; traffic planners and more who work to keep the public safe.

These safety teams look at the causes of local crashes to determine how they can prevent future crashes and improve how professionals (i.e., law enforcement, fire and medical) respond to those crashes. In an MDST, these responders meet regularly to discuss safety topics, problems, projects and improvements along their local roadways.

LTAP offers information for workshops related to engineering and traffic safety. Workshops are open to both MDST members and the public to attend. LTAP also provides the MDST teams with technical reports, research documents and traffic safety assessments. This approach will improve communication on technical transportation issues among professionals from local governments, cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, regional entities, and IDOT statewide.

By collaborating with others, MDST participants gain a wider perspective on safety issues and learn from professionals outside their area of expertise. This can lead to the development of solutions that otherwise may not have been considered.

Another safety improvement is getting responders to follow similar protocols. One agenda is the use of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Traffic Incident Management Response Training Program. This program trains law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, transportation agency employees, and tow truck operators on how to effectively and efficiently work together when responding to crashes. This training, along with regular MDST meetings, helps solve these issues and prevent future occurrences.