For Immediate Release
November 13, 2023
Florida Department of Transportation Recognizes Roadside Heroes During Crash Responder Safety Week
National Crash Responder Safety Week is November 13 – 17, 2023
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — This week, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) joins partners across the state to recognize Crash Responder Safety Week (November 13-17, 2023), emphasizing the essential duties performed by traffic incident responders to save lives and keep traffic moving, as well as the importance of engaging in safe driver behaviors to protect these responders.
Providing free highway assistance to disabled vehicles and motorists during traffic incidents for over 20 years, FDOT’s Road Ranger program is a vital component to the overall safety of Florida’s extensive roadway system. These responders are often the first to arrive at the scene of a crash and perform critical roadway management, including the removal of dangerous debris and other roadway hazards and directing traffic to ensure that motorists can safely pass an active incident as efficiently as possible.
“Florida’s crash responders are truly the unsung heroes of our communities, and this week allows us to shine a light on their tireless efforts to keep motorists safe and moving,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “As often as we depend on them, remember that their safety and wellbeing depends on us – always drive with care and caution and give them room to perform this critical work.”
“Anyone who’s ever had to stop on the side of the highway understands the vulnerability and dangers associated with being among busy, high-speed traffic– an experience felt by crash responders each and every day,” said Representative Fiona McFarland. “This year’s expansion of Florida’s Move Over Law to include any disabled vehicle– be it minivan or emergency vehicle– demonstrates our state’s continued commitment to enhancing the safety of our roadways, residents, and valued responders.”
“FHP troopers as first responders inherently put themselves at risk daily,” said Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Dave Kerner. “During crash responders safety week, and every day we celebrate and honor their courage and dedication to Florida citizens during some of their most unexpected and critical moments.”
"Please use Crash Responders Safety Week as a reminder of the dangers first responders face on a daily basis," said Director of the Florida Highway Patrol Colonel Gary Howze II. "Support and protect those who support and protect you, by moving over or slowing down when you see emergency vehicles working on the side of the roadway."
Road Rangers and other crash responders provide assistance to motorists directly in or along some of the busiest roadways in Florida, resulting in an increased risk of injuries from secondary crashes while tending to disabled vehicles. To increase the safety of crash responders and to help mitigate the rise of these secondary crashes, FDOT researched and implemented innovative technology that allows Road Rangers and Incident Response Personnel to send advanced warnings to FL511, Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), and third-party navigation apps which alert approaching motorists of personnel working in or alongside the roadway. This advanced warning technology offers motorists additional time to slow down and give room to stopped responder vehicles and prepares them for potential changes in traffic patterns to avoid a collision.
While FDOT continues to expand engineering and technology countermeasures to protect our Road Rangers, the safety of Florida’s crash responders, including Law Enforcement, EMS professionals, firefighters, and tow truck drivers, is a shared responsibility. Motorists can contribute to safer roadways by avoiding distractions while driving, adhering to posted speed limits, staying alert, and moving over a lane to give crash responders and other stopped emergency vehicles room to safely perform this critical work.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s mission is to provide a safe transportation system that ensures the mobility of people and goods, enhances economic prosperity and preserves the quality of the state’s environment and communities. The department is committed to building a transportation system that not only fits the current needs of Florida’s residents and visitors but also enhances mobility throughout the state to accommodate its consistent and rapid growth. The unique nature of the Sunshine State and its year-round warm climate provides numerous opportunities to achieve the department’s mission through multiple transportation modes including highways/streets, air, rail, sea, spaceports, transit, and the ever-expanding deployment of bicycle & pedestrian facilities.