The Responder January/February 2016

Message from the New TIM Network Liaison

It is now 2016.  We find ourselves starting out another new year, one which is sure to be full of change, excitement, and I am sure some disappointments.  We won’t concentrate on disappointments as we want to have the best year ever in Traffic Incident Management and Traffic Operations.  I hope that the holidays were good to everyone, that you got to spend time with friends and those you love.  I also hope that you took the time to discuss work zone safety, how to respond when encountering an incident on the roadways, and overall, what is expected of them as a driver.  These are hard conversations, and not the norm for a holiday get together.  We must have these conversations with everyone we know and contact, as the TIM community is the best source for public outreach.

I have another challenge for the members of the TIM Network this month.  It will be easy to meet the challenge, and many of you may exceed the goal.  As of now, there are approximately 1800 members in the TIM Network from around the world.  The numbers have climbed sometimes steadily, sometimes slowly over the years.  When the TIM Network was started just a few years ago there were only a handful of us.  Thanks to the hard work of many people the numbers soon reached 1000 members.  The increase to where we are today has been much more gradual.  We know that there are more and more champions for TIM around the world, but the membership numbers have not changed much.  The TIM Network and The Responder newsletter provide considerable information on TIM for all of the members.  There is information on training, rural roads, technology, safety, legislation and regulations, and there are links to valuable websites for responders.  We want all who are involved in TIM to take advantage of this tremendous resource.  The nice part of membership is that there is no unwanted spam E-mail as a result of membership.  You will receive The Responder and other information that is critical for responders.  During the sign-up process there may a few administrative E-mails that are required to keep the site secure.

So, the challenge for this month is for every member to encourage at least one person to sign up for the TIM Network.  This could be someone in your agency or organization, someone who you work with from another agency or organization, or a family member who would benefit from membership.  Think of those you know who would benefit from membership and forward them this version of The Responder and have them sign up using the link that is listed below.  If everyone does this with just one person, we can double the membership in one month.  Chances are we will get more new members if everyone markets the TIM Network as an organization whose goal is to improve the safety of all responders, promote inter-disciplinary training, improve the safety of motorists, and reduce the impact of incidents on traffic, thus reducing the impact on our economy.  It is a win-win membership.  I encourage you to have as many people as you can sign up for membership in the TIM Network.  Doubling the membership after this newsletter is our goal, and we hope to exceed our expectations.

To join the TIM Network, select the following link:


I have faith in all of you that you can increase the membership in the TIM Network immediately.  I hope to be very busy approving and activating accounts.

Now on to other business.  As you all know, funding is a critical issue for everyone involved in Traffic Incident Management.  This is true whether we are on the public or private side of the business.  We know that funding will always be an issue for us, even in the best of times.  It seems that Traffic Incident Management is often times the last thing that is thought about as we carry out our duties, improving safety for everyone and minimizing the effect on commerce.  However, it is often one of the first items  discussed when the budgets become an issue.  We must constantly strive to find new funding sources for TIM.  We may have to look to more non-traditional sources for support for our programs.  There are currently many Safety Service Patrol programs who receive sponsorship from insurance companies and others.  It may be time to reach out to the insurance companies for other resources that will help us to improve safety, while reducing the impact of incidents on traffic, thus reducing the chances of their insured being involved in a secondary incident.  I don’t know how much support that we will get, but I am willing to research it.  I encourage all of you to research this funding source, too.  Contact your insurance companies for referrals and test the waters.  The benefit to insurance companies certainly outweigh the costs.

I think there are some opportunities for grant funding that may not have been researched fully, as well.  Traffic Incident Management as a function can be tied to Homeland Security, Traffic Enforcement, Emergency Management, Highway Design, State Transportation Improvement Plans, Transportation Systems Management and Operations Programs, and other sources.  TIM is an essential function of all of these programs.  Work needs to be done to tie them together so that TIM is recognized in each program, and that it is promoted as a part of each program.

Effective, efficient Traffic Incident Management is essential to the survival of responders and motorists.  It will minimize the impact on motorists due to congestion and will reduce the impact on the economy by allowing the continuance movement of commerce.  Traffic Operations is a large part of the future of the transportation industry.  Whether we are in law enforcement, the fire service, EMS, towing, DOT or public works, utilities, the media, consulting or other disciplines, we are an integral part of the transportation industry.  We must support our family in TIM and in transportation.

I encourage you to take a look around your area for potential funding sources to promote TIM.  After we double the size of the TIM Network membership this month, when everyone meets the challenge, we will have plenty of resources to help each other continue to build upon the path that we have chosen in life, and make sure that everyone goes home at the end of the day.

Please contact me if you have any questions.  And, don’t forget the challenge.


Rusty James

TIM Network Liaison

View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

  What is your agency’s safety goals for 2016 ?

 2015 Killed in the Line of Duty

Police Officers   126
Firefighters         86
EMS                      05
Towers                 22

NFFF – FIRE/EMS  Vulnerability Assessment Tool
TIM Network
FHWA Traffic Incident Management
Responder Safety Learning Network
NFFF Fire Learning Network
IACP * Police Officer Safety
Towing and Recovery Association of America
Safe Highways
TIM NETWORK  Facebook    National Traffic Incident Management Coalition
IAFF Health, Safety, Medicine
NFPA 1500 Health and Safety
FHWA Safe Quick Clearance

Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate


John Sullivan —Tennessee Department of Transportation

Just wanted to include some information on our expansion to our TDOT HELP Nashville program. We have hired 5 new personnel with another 8 being hired late in January. We are expanding our Highway emergency incident patrol to cover areas outside of Nashville on I-24 to Murfreesboro TN, and on I-65 to Franklin TN. The tentative date is around June to be covering these areas as part of our normal route coverage area. This adds another 30 miles of coverage on I-24, and 20 miles to I-65. The 3 shifts we run will now be at full staff levels, and add 3 new operators to each shift. Our Patrol hours remain at 6am to 10pm 7 days a week, with On-Call trucks for the overnight incidents. In relation to National Mentoring month, we hope to mentor to our new hires with a positive focus on keeping the interstates safe, and passing the torch of Highway Safety to the next generations of Freeway Service Patrol workers, so that the trend continues for generations to come. I will be updating you on the progress of our expansion in the coming months.

Thank you so much for your time! Stay safe everyone.

Preventing Highway Terrorist Incidents

Jim McGee

When suspicious activity is observed, local law enforcement  should be contacted and provided with a clear description of who or what was seen; when it was seen; where it occurred; and why it is suspicious.

If there is an emergency, call 911.



Traffic  Management Center operators, dispatchers, highway maintenance workers, public works employees, freeway service patrols, truckers and towing and recovery operators are among those who know the highways best and all are well-suited to raise existing surveillance and detection capabilities by looking for and reporting out-of-place and suspicious behaviors and indicators of terrorism.

Public works and highway maintenance workers can use their observational skills to detect out-of-ordinary and suspicious activity and to prevent highway terrorist incidents. Intelligent Transportation Systems technology coverage helps but is limited across the 1,000,000-mile federal aid highway system and 47,000-mile Interstate Highway System.

Highway maintenance workers already play a key role collecting data behind the scenes. Many take part collecting and reporting “real-time” highway condition data about weather, crashes, congestion, work zones and lane closures to highway travel information systems such as 511; but more than 90% of state departments of transportation report concerns that field personnel can’t communicate with first responders.

“If You See Something, Say Something” is a national campaign that raises public awareness about the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security launched the campaign in 2010 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative.  The program originated in NYC. The goal was training state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators of terrorism. The campaign tells people that when suspicious activity is observed, local law enforcement should be contacted and provided with a clear description of who or what was seen; when it was seen; where it occurred; and why it is suspicious.

Suspicious behavior includes unusual items or situations such as a vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package or luggage left unattended, a window or door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur; eliciting information such as a person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes,  observation or surveillance such as someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation; unusual, repeated, or prolonged observation of a building; taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, and other unusual activity.

To report suspicious activity, local law enforcement agency should be contacted with a clear description of who or what was seen; when it was seen; where it occurred; and why it is suspicious.

Experts advise that “If you do see a bomb, the bomb can see you.  Evacuation zone distances vary according to bomb size and location.

  • A 5-pound pipe bomb requires an evacuation distance of 70 feet indoors/ 850 feet outside
  • A 1000-pound sedan vehicle bomb has an evacuation distance of 400 feet indoor/ 1750 feet outside
  • A 10,000 pound delivery truck bomb has an evacuation distance of 860 feet indoors/3,750 feet outside
  • A 60,000 pound semi-trailer bomb requires 1,570 feet indoors/7,000 feet outside.

Bomb threats may be telephoned and the information obtained from the caller must be quickly passed to the appropriate public safety officials for immediate expert assessment. It is important to note the voice, language, tone and context of the caller or perpetrator during a telephoned bomb threat.

The writer lives in Nebraska and can be reached at

Traffic Control Provided by Towing Companies – Will this become the norm?

The following photos were submitted by Tony Carr of Arrow Towing in the Omaha / Council Bluffs area.  I have long encouraged towing contractors to include traffic control as a part of their business plans.  Proper traffic control is required for incidents on our roadways.  This proper traffic control is sometimes hard to obtain during times when there are no DOT or public works personnel available.  The towing industry has an opportunity to improve the safety of responders, improve the safety of motorists and reduce the confusion and congestion due to incidents on our roadways.

figure 1 figure 2 figure 3 figure 4 figure 5

Many towing companies are now providing traffic control for incidents on the roadway.  This is a legitimate, reimbursable expense.  The sooner that proper traffic control is in place at an incident, the safer the work zone for the incident becomes, the less confusion on the part of the motorists, and congestion is relieved.

These photos show how well things can be done by the towing companies.  With the proper training and purchase of the necessary traffic control devices a tow company can provide the necessary traffic control.  The towing industry is comprised of many truly professional and well trained tow operators.  As a result of the push for Traffic Incident Management programs across the country, and the multi-disciplinary focus of the SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responder training, the towing industry is receiving the respect that they deserve.


Older drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes at intersections

Jim McGee

The writer lives in Omaha, Nebraska and can be contacted at

Nationwide, there are 95.9 million licensed drivers who are of age 50 or older. 586 older motorists are injured and 15 killed each day in crashes. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74. Adjusting to the driving needs of older drivers requires both planning and improving the physical roadway to better accommodate older drivers’ special needs and identifying those older drivers at increased risk of crashing. According to NHTSA, 75% of all crash victim costs are paid by the public through taxes, insurance premiums, and project and travel delays.

Older drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes at intersections, especially when attempting a left-turn. Older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a crash. Drivers 85 and older are 10 times more likely than 40–49 year olds to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes at intersections

Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older. Compared with an overall fatality rate of 2 per 1,000 crashes, persons ages 65–74 have a fatality rate of 3.2.  For those 75–84, the rate is 5.3, and at 85 and above it climbs to 8.6.

Those over 65 comprised 15% or more of the total population in 19 states in 2013 when those over 65 represented 14.1% of the United States population. The national figure is projected to grow to 21.7% of the population by 2040.

About 5% of those over-65 population occupy nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living, and board-and-care homes. 81% of those over 65 live in metropolitan areas. Many continue to drive.

The likelihood of being at fault in a crash increases with age. 70% of drivers 75 and older involved in fatal two-vehicle crashes were at fault, compared with less than 40% for drivers 45–64.

Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74. Drivers in the above-85 population are the nation’s fastest growing segment of motorists with an increase of 2.9% from 2013-2014.

Older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Crash survivability is equally as concerning as crash avoidance for older motorists who tend to be more frail. 

As people age, they experience  reduced visual acuity, narrower visual fields, poorer nighttime vision, greater sensitivity to glare, slower reaction times,  reduced muscle strength, reduced flexibility and range of motion, and other declines in visual  and psychomotor function that can affect driving.

About 19% of those over 65 live in non-metropolitan areas.  About 54% of the over 65 age group lived outside principal cities and 27% lived inside principal cities. Principal cities of metros are the main core cities in each metropolitan area. The largest city in each metropolitan statistical area is designated a “principal city.” There are 1,233 principal cities in the United States. 19% of the over-65 group lived outside of metropolitan areas.

In 2013, 61% of those over 65 lived in 13 states: California (4.8 million); Florida (3.6 million); Texas (3.0 million); New York (2.8 million); Pennsylvania (2.1 million); Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia Compared with an overall fatality rate of 2 per 1,000 crashes, persons ages 65–74 have a fatality rate of 3.2.  For those 75–84, the rate is 5.3, and at 85 and above it climbs to 8.6.

7% of older drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher, compared to 24% of drivers between the ages of 21 and 64 years.

Sources: NCHRP Report 500 Volume 9: A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Older Drivers;  Administration for Community Living; Population Estimates U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement; Age, Sex, Household Relationship, by Region and Residence – Ratio of Income to Poverty Level; Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population (2015); NCHRP Report 500. Volume 9, Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Older Drivers, NHTSA Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 13; Nebraska Office of Highway Safety


Save the Date:

Iowa Statewide Traffic Incident Management Conference

May 16, 2016

Iowa State Center, Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa

Agenda being determined

Will include two (2) SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responder training sessions

Sunday, May15th  – afternoon or evening

Monday, May 16th – Afternoon breakout session at conference

Additional information will be available soon


ITS Heartland Conference

April 25th – 27th, 2016

Des Moines, Iowa

Sheraton West Des Moines

1800 50th Street

West Des Moines, IA 50266



SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responders Train-the-Trainer

The 2016 Missouri Train-the-Trainer Session for the SHRP2 National Traffic Incident Management for Responders training program is being conducted on March 28th and 29th, 2016, in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The target audience for this course is experienced trainers from all TIM disciplines, including: Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue, Emergency Medical Service, Towing and Recovery, Emergency Management, Communications, and Highway/Transportation. Each T-t-T participant is expected to have both prior instructional and TIM experience. Please share the attached flyer with partner agencies.

To register for the class, please visit our on-line registration portal at:

For further information contact:

Lisa Vieth, PE
Statewide Incident Response Coordinator
Missouri Department of Transportation
PO BOX 270
830 MoDOT Drive
Jefferson City, MO  65102

TIM Network/FHWA Knowledge Management System (KMS) 

The TIM Network coupled with the Federal Highway Administration has launched a new TIM Knowledge Management System. We encourage all TIM Network members to submit articles, resources, and any other general TIM information that could help practitioners across the nation. As seen below, these featured articles will be included in The Responder. Don’t be afraid to submit!

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