Jessica Mathews /

Crash Responder Safety Week gets underway next week and this year’s theme is “Protect Those Who Protect You”.

The Federal Highway Administration sponsored initiative communicates simple steps that everyone can take to keep roadway responders and the public safe around traffic incidents.

Every minute of every day, law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, public works, transportation, towing, and other responders work roadside to make roadways safe for all users. Officials say these traffic incident responders put their lives at risk when clearing each of the nearly 7-million annual motor vehicle crashes or the broader range of incidents such as stalled vehicles or roadway debris.
Unfortunately, the Administration says first responders are still being struck and killed or injured at an alarming rate.

In 2022, a traffic crash occurred every 1 minute and 48 seconds on Michigan roads - resulting in 293,341 traffic crashes. Emergency vehicles were involved in 2,515 of those crashes – which included 9 fatal and 324 injury crashes.

Crash Responder Safety Week will focus on teaching shared responsibility for safety and lives can be saved by quickly clearing traffic crashes, staying alert and avoiding distractions, driving safely around traffic incidents, and obeying Michigan's Move Over Law.

Michigan’s Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit and move over at least one lane if safely possible. The law applies to stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated, including roadside tow trucks and safety service patrol/courtesy vehicles operated by MDOT. It also applies to garbage trucks, road maintenance, and utility service vehicles that have amber lights flashing.

Per numbers released by Michigan State Police on Tuesday; since last week, 17 people died on Michigan roadways making a total of 896 this year. In addition, 94 more were seriously injured for a statewide total of 4,910 to date. Compared to last year at this time, there are 26 fewer fatalities and 61 more serious injuries.

Crash Responder Safety Week takes place November 13th through 17th.