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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Steer it - Clear It" a Precurser to new Laws on Motorists? YES (as reported last JUNE

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Steer it - Clear It" a Precurser to new Laws on Motorists?

POSTED on: Saturday, June 26, 2010


"Steer it - Clear It" a Precurser to new Laws on Motorists?
Editor's note: meant as a thought provolking interesting column, addressing topics and information currently addressed in media, politics dealing with transportation. This is not meant as a news article. It simply is what it is.
Sidebar: Common Sence:
Motorists are advised that while approaching an accident scene, fire department of police scene, it is always important to be ever aware, of not only the roadway directly in front of the car you are operating, but also any activities and orders offered by Fire Police, Fire Fighters or Police. Events at an accident scene can change quickly, including lane restrictions, lane changes or lane or road closures.

If you can avoid the scene completely, it may be advisable. Accidents can also be caused by the actions of drivers rubbernecking and slowing the motion of traffic. If you are not directly involved in the incident, a first reponder, member of the media, please move along. This would be best for all involved.

"Steer it - Slear it" Not an Original Idea 
It's been studied for a decade or more.

 The issue of incident response and safety on the emergency scene has been an issue of focus.So much so that the attention of the federal government has caused online publication of information for Traffic Incident Management. Some of the issues that are noted include; special event traffic management, emergency lighting and details tools and signage.

The Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation, has created materials and guidence in refernece to three very important practices.

A. SQC Laws - Safe Quick Clearance Laws, as you have recently heard promoted in newscasts and in advertising,  promotes the idea of "steer it - clear it" practices.
The important bullet points of this include:
A. Giving First Responders a "cushion" to work within.
B. Keeping roadways clear for faster incident response
 C. Helping to prevent secondary accidents

  Three core SQC laws, announced in a recent publication by the USA DOT include; provide a necessary foundation for facilitating the safety, mobility,and economic benefits of TIM when effectively implemented together:

Driver Removal or “Move It”: These laws require motorists involved in minor crashes (where there are no serious injuries and the vehicle can be driven) to move their vehicles out of the travel lanes to the shoulder or other safe area before initiating the exchange of insurance information, or while awaiting the arrival of law enforcement and/or a tow truck.Authority Removal or “Remove It”: These laws provide authority (and immunity
from liability in general) for designated public agencies to remove abandoned
vehicles and spilled cargo from the roadway to restore traffic fl ow.
“Move Over”: Designed to protect incident responders and stranded motorists
alike, “Move Over” laws require motorists approaching incident responders and
vehicles to slow down and move over to an adjacent lane, when possible,
to provide an increased safety buffer."

The USA DOT promotes the enactment of additiolnal laws on motorists. What this means is that if you are in an accident, and you do not move your car over far enough, you can get a citation for that in addition to any item you may have done to cause the accident in the first place from the way this information is disclosed.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the points on your license can add up quickly and if you, as a mototist, and this is inclusive of anyone who uses NY roads and thruways, not just NY drivers, you can be subject to the Driver Responsiblity Assessment. This assessment can add hunderds of dollars to your fine and penalty even after you have gone to court and paid your fines.

NITTEC is currenty promoting the idea of "stear it clear it" but has made no specific announcemnt about additional laws.

A quick search via Google found some information illustrating some additional information in reference to the government's involvement.

A comprehensive Georgia G.A.O. report details the fact that the Federal Government is a stakeholder in the effective use of highways and the safe use thereof, a report produced by Government Accounting Office to the Ranking Member, offer ideas, including the ranger program, which we call "H.E.L.P. Trucks" and H.O.T. Lanes that access a surcharge to cars if they would like to use lanes that bi-pass conjestion.

One of the success stories involving traffic was the following:

"In 1991, Washington State’s legislature passed a law designed to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and petroleum consumption by requiring metropolitan planning organizations to foster employer-based programs that
 decrease the number of commuting trips made by people driving alone. Since the law was passed, the number of vehicle trips has dropped statewide. In the central Puget Sound region, where Seattle is located, the number of vehicle trips made during the morning commuter hours has dropped by 14,000, reducing peak travel delay by an estimated 11.6 percent, on average, each weekday morning in the region."

According to the fifty plus page report, raising of taxes was mentioned as a way to combat traffic issues:

"Agencies Report Developing New Methods to Fund the Use of Congestion Mitigation Techniques

A number of state and local governments in the locations we visited had imposed additional tolls, local taxes, and development impact fees to provide funding for the implementation of congestion mitigation techniques. Officials said they had done so because traditional funding sources were not generating sufficient resources. Many of these revenue sources were focused in a specific region and were geared toward implementing specific congestion mitigation techniques. For example, voters in the San Francisco region passed an increase in toll fees on the region’s seven state-owned bridges to support the Regional Traffic Relief Plan, which funds such projects as expanding transit options, as well as improving transit connections and several freeway bottlenecks. Several other regions passed sales, property, or gasoline taxes. For example, San Diego passed a half-cent sales tax to implement a number of congestion mitigation techniques to help improve traffic congestion on the most highly congested corridors in the region. This included funding for new HOV and managed lanes along highways, new connectors to the highways, and transit improvements.

Some localities generated additional transportation funding through another source—development impact fees. They used this approach particularly when new development had a significant effect on the current road network. Florida, for example, has passed a law that regulates large-scale developments that have substantial impacts on the transportation system."

All in all, it is a very complex how the Federal Government is involved, and using taxpayer money to enact more laws, to make us safer. In addition it is nice to see local improvements and see ideas from 2007 are being put into action today.

Additional Resources:

Department of Transportation PDF (adobe)
GAO Report July 2007 Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate
All Sources are public domain

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