Agencies sign landmark Missouri open roads deal


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The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDot) and the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) signed the Missouri Open Roads Agreement, a one-of-a-kind document that provides guidance to emergency responders to eliminate incidents on the highways of Missouri. In the agreement, agencies adopted a goal of removing traffic incidents safely from the roadway within 90 minutes of the arrival of the first responder.

The MoDOT, MSHP and other emergency responders are calling on drivers to do their part by staying alert, slowing down and, if possible, moving to give them space to work. To remind motorists of what is happening, the Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of November 8-14 as Emergency Responder Safety Week.

“Traffic jams are a growing problem in Missouri, and we know that most are linked to incidents such as accidents, stranded vehicles and debris,” said Ed Hassinger, deputy director and chief engineer of MoDOT. “The Open Highway Agreement will help strengthen the joint efforts of Missouri emergency responders to quickly and safely clear our highways from these incidents and bring traffic back to normal.” “

There were over 131,000 traffic accidents in Missouri in 2020. As part of MoDOT’s work to maintain a safe and reliable transportation system, the department’s emergency response personnel respond to more than 6 000 traffic incidents every month on average.

“Every day, first responders put themselves at risk along Missouri’s roads by investigating accidents, helping stranded motorists and enforcing the rules of the road,” said Col. Eric Olson, MSHP superintendent. “Please slow down, move around and give them room to work. “

When motorists approach responders or emergency vehicles on the side of the road with flashing lights, they must move. Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching stationary MoDOT, law enforcement, or other emergency vehicles with flashing lights. To help protect those who protect us, all 50 states enforce some form of the Move Over Law.

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