“Protect Those Who Protect You”: Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and Oklahoma Highway Safety Office Spark a Call to Action During Crash Responder Safety Week

Oklahoma City—Mark your calendars for November 13–17, as the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office join forces with the national Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW) to bring to light the courageous and often underrepresented stories of our local responders. Every day, these heroes put their lives at risk to ensure our roads are safe and functional. 

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol works roadway crashes every day with partners, including firefighters, emergency medical services, law enforcement, towing and recovery, public works, and safety service patrols. Collectively, these traffic incident responders assist road users in need, applying well-rehearsed procedures to provide emergency traffic control and quickly clear incidents from roadways. 

“We work roadside often inches from cars and trucks going by way too fast, sometimes 80 miles per hour or more,” said Major Garrett Vowell. “We want drivers in Oklahoma to understand the risks that we take every day and the need for every vehicle passing by any traffic incident to slow down, move over, and stay alert.” 

The Federal Highway Administration, along with national partners, States, and local responders, are invested in this event to reduce the number of traffic incidents involving responders who suffer injuries or lose their lives in the line of duty. Since the start of this year through October, tragically, multiple traffic incident responders have been killed, and countless others have endured life-altering injuries. 

The national event promotes Move Over law awareness for drivers and free National Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Responder Training for responders: 

  • We ask all road users to protect those who protect you. When passing an incident scene, motorists are asked to slow down and, if possible, move over into an adjacent lane to provide a protective buffer between responders and motorists. 
  • Local responders are encouraged to take the free TIM training from FHWA to stay updated on best practices. By the end of year 2023, 700,000 responders will have been trained through free in-person or online instructor-led or online self-paced courses.