What is Traffic Incident Management (TIM)?
Traffic Incident Management (TIM) includes:
- Emergency responders, 911 dispatch, and traffic management center staff working together closely to make sure the right people show up to the scene.
- Towing and recovery professionals helping move vehicles out of the roadways or off the shoulder following an incident.
- Firefighters, EMS/EMT, law enforcement, safety patrols, traffic management centers, maintenance crews, and 911 dispatchers working together using well-rehearsed procedures to respond quickly and safely.
But these heroes of the highway can’t do it alone. They need your help!
TIM brings emergency professionals and the public together so that everyone is aware of traffic incidents and they can be cleared to get traffic back to normal as quickly and safely as possible. Effective TIM keeps traffic moving and improves the safety of motorists, crash victims, and emergency responders involved with or passing by the incident.
Why is it important?
For professionals who respond to highway incidents, the risk of injury or death is constant. According to the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC) traffic crashes and “struck-by” incidents continue to be a leading cause of on-duty injuries and deaths for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and towing and recovery professionals. Along with state Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and Department of Roads (NDOR) professionals, these heroes of the highway risk their personal safety to provide necessary services to the citizens of the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area. Safe and quick clearance of highway incidents reduces the exposure to harm and increases the safety for all.
Traffic congestion is “one of the single largest threats” to the nation's economic prosperity and way of life, according to the United States Department of Transportation. NTIMC studies show that traffic incidents are the cause of about one quarter of the congestion on the nation’s roadways. According to the studies, for every minute a freeway lane is blocked due to an incident, it results in four minutes of travel delay. These delays can cause serious impacts to getting you and the goods you rely on where they need to go in a timely manner, ultimately having an impact on the economy and the livability of the communities we call home.
Saving lives, time, and money is a shared priority of local, state, and federal partners.
How can you play a part in TIM?
- Slow down and move over when passing by an incident scene to provide a protective buffer for responders, as well as the motorists behind you. After all, it’s the law!
- Don’t “rubber-neck” at an incident – keep moving as to not create a traffic jam.
- Give your full attention to the task of driving. Avoid distractions like your phone, eating or drinking, and conversations with others while passing by an incident.
- Help us share the message!
The TIM Response Program brings together all groups involved in clearing an incident from the roadway to:
- Increase responder, traveler, and construction worker safety.
- Improve the mobility of people and goods.
- Reduce congestion, fuel consumption, and emissions.
Training is Available!
The key to building stronger incident response teams is to train responders across all agencies together. Then, these trained responders train their colleagues, expanding the reach of the TIM program across their region or State. Training classes include representatives across the responder spectrum:
- Law enforcement
- Fire and rescue personnel
- Emergency medical services
- Transportation agencies
- Towing and recovery professionals
- Notification and dispatch personnel
- Hazardous materials management responders
- Coroners and medical examiners
- Public works professionals
Move Over Slow Down
If you see a stopped emergency or maintenance vehicle with its emergency lights flashing, MOVE OVER OR SLOW DOWN. One of the most dangerous places for emergency responders and maintenance personnel is along the side of the road. Each year hundreds of these hard working men and women are injured or killed by passing motorists while working along the nation’s highways.
Emergency personnel, maintenance workers, and others who work on busy highways take every possible precaution to avoid getting hit by vehicles. Every state has enacted “Move Over” laws, requiring motorists to change lanes or, if not possible, slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles. When motorists obey the Move Over Law and create a safety zone, they reduce the dangers to themselves and those who work along our highways.
State law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a reasonable speed for road and traffic conditions.
The law was expanded in 2017, to include any stationary vehicles (utility, garbage, etc) with safety lights flashing.
A driver approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, including tow trucks, with flashing lights and traveling in the same direction is required to vacate the lane closest to the vehicle or reduce speed and maintain a safe speed while passing the vehicle. If vacating the closest lane is not possible, a driver must slow to a safe speed.