Utah DPS urges drivers to use extra caution when first responders are working
Nov 13, 2023, 5:17 PM | Updated: 6:03 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Public Safety has seen way too many close calls and even law enforcement officers getting hit by other cars on the roads.
Utah Highway Patrol Stg. Cameron Roden acknowledges the job is fast-paced and intense and demands undivided attention. But far too often, crash responders are dealt with another worry besides the crash at hand.
“We have troopers that get hit, and we want to mitigate that as much as possible, and we are heading into that time of year where we really see that increase,” Roden said.
While no serious injuries have been reported from the 15 struck-by incidents in 2023, as a crash responder, one close call is too many.
“A lot of times when we respond to these situations, we are already responding to a situation where there’s injuries or death involved. We have a lot of controlled chaos to do at that scene, and the last thing we want to have to happen is something worse happens by someone losing control. Coming into that accident scene and someone else getting hurt,” Roden said.
During Crash Responders Safety Week, responders want to peel back the curtain, showing people just how demanding their jobs can be. They want drivers to know why it’s important to move over, slow down when approaching a crash, and please put away those distractions.
“When we are at the scene of an accident, we are working in the roadway, and traffic is driving by us, so distracted driving, whether they are rubbernecking or on cell phones, inherently increases the danger for us just to accomplish the job,” said Tony Barker, Captain for Unified Fire.
“If we can prevent crashes from happening on the front side, that helps us so much on the back side, get these cleared, restore traffic flow, but most importantly, get everybody home safely,” Roden added.