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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Traffic Incident Management Quick Clearance Laws:
A National Review of Best Practices

This publication may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.


Executive Summary

This report is intended to better support Quick Clearance Law implementation efforts by preparing States to respond to questions regarding the necessity of Quick Clearance legislation and identifying examples from existing State Move Over, Driver Removal, and Authority Removal legislation that serve to both support and challenge successful incident management operations. Through this investigation, carefully crafted statutory content and language that best support Quick Clearance objectives, and agency/industry partnerships that provide demonstrated, united support for safe, Quick Clearance objectives and related legislation were observed to be key factors supporting implementation of Quick Clearance Laws.

Move Over Laws

Move Over laws require drivers approaching a scene where emergency responders are present to either change lanes when possible and/or reduce vehicle speed. The most effective Move Over laws:

Key partnerships and constituents in support of Move Over legislation include:

Driver Removal Laws

Driver Removal laws require that vehicles involved in typically minor traffic incidents - with no apparent physical injury and/or minor property damage - be moved out of the travel lanes to a safe location where drivers can exchange information and/or wait for law enforcement assistance. The most effective Driver Removal laws:

Key partnerships and constituents in support of Driver Removal legislation include:

Authority Removal Laws

Authority Removal laws clarify the authority and responsibility of pre-designated public agencies to clear damaged or disabled vehicles and spilled cargo from the roadway to prevent the occurrence of secondary incidents and to allow normal traffic flow to resume. Authority Removal laws typically provide indemnification for these agencies if removal duties are performed in good faith and without gross negligence. The most effective Authority Removal laws:

Key partnerships and constituents in support of Authority Removal legislation include:

Interagency agreements and memoranda of understanding can be an effective interim approach to formalizing Quick Clearance strategies and can provide a basis for pursuing future related Quick Clearance legislation. In addition, although each type of legislation considered in this investigation has the potential to offer significant safety- and delay-related benefit, synergistic benefits also may be realized through combined Quick Clearance Law implementation.

December 2008
FHWA-HOP-09-005

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