Here’s the press release from the state DOT:
The Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington Fire Chiefs took steps this week to address a top reason for traffic backups: collisions and disabled vehicles.
In signing a Joint Operations Policy Statement (JOPS), the three agencies reaffirmed their commitment to work together so traffic incidents are cleared faster.
The 2010 agreement includes a new way emergency responders will look at incidents lasting more than 90 minutes. They will gather information for an “after-action report” and analyze what could have been done to more quickly get the road back open and traffic moving.
“We started this after-action pilot project in King County this summer and, by this time next year, we will use what we learn to make state roads work even better,” said Paula Hammond, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). “Our main goal remains to keep traffic and our economy moving. We are committed to efficient operations, as well as improved strategies to fight congestion and reduce emissions.”
Hammond said these are all part of WSDOT’s Moving Washington approach of strategically adding road capacity, operating the system efficiently and providing choices that help manage transportation demands.
State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste and Mike Brown from Washington Fire Chiefs joined Hammond Thursday in signing the 2010 JOPS. The agreement, renewed every two years, defines each agency’s role in traffic management, security on Washington State Ferries, keeping commercial vehicle freight moving, keeping workers and commuters safe in work zones and providing efficient, effective emergency response for weather incidents such as flooding and snowfall.
“Partnerships like these help us get the roadway clear and traffic moving again,” Batiste said. “But we still need drivers’ help. The best way to keep drivers safe and traffic moving is for drivers to obey traffic laws so a collision doesn’t happen in the first place.”
For 2010, the Washington Association of Fire Chiefs re-joined the effort.
“It’s important we all work together and, through JOPS, we have an agreement on what each group’s role is at the scene,” Brown said. “This will help all of us get there safely, get our job done and get traffic moving.”
The goal for all traffic incidents is to have all lanes open in 90 minute or less. Collisions that last more than 90 minutes often include fatalities, hazardous-material spills, fires, or commercial vehicles.