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Study of Traffic Incident Management System Released

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2009
2 pages
This paper reports on the content of an April 2008 report developed by the U.S. Fire Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the International Fire Service Training Association, with a focus on secondary collisions that occur in the course of firefighters working at scenes of primary traffic incidents that involve fire or the risk of fire.
Secondary collisions are those that occur as a result of conditions and circumstances derived from the deployment of emergency personnel, vehicles, and equipment to the site of a primary traffic incident. Eight factors that contribute to secondary collisions are mentioned in the report. One factor is the lack of personnel training specific to the hazard being addressed. A second factor is the lack of situational awareness of the dangers posed by the strategy used in the emergency response. A third factor is the failure to establish a proper temporary traffic control zone; common causes of this include a lack of sufficient training, equipment, or establishment of standard operating procedures. Another factor is the failure to position apparatus so as to protect the work area, or positioning it unnecessarily in the roadway. A fifth factor involves the inappropriate use of vehicle headlights, warning lights, or flood lights, which can confuse or blind approaching motorists. A sixth factor is the failure to wear appropriate protective and retroreflective garments, and a seventh factor is the failure to use all available traffic control devices. Another factor that may be beyond the control of any protective measure pertains to distracted, careless, inattentive, or impaired drivers; reduced visibility or other poor driving conditions; and driver confusion caused by traffic control measures.

Date Published: February 1, 2009