The Complexities Of Keeping Traffic Moving After A Crash

The morning and evening commute to get to work is sometimes the most hectic part of anyone’s day –, especially in California. Even when everyone is paying attention, there are no fender benders, and it’s just a bit of slow-and-go traffic, a few miles can take a long time. When there’s a major accident, what was just a bit of a headache becomes a nightmare.

KTVU – Fox Channel 2 reports that emergency crews are very much aware of how frustrating it can be for commuters. An accident that happened in the early hours of Wednesday, May 26th that left one person dead and two others severely injured had traffic snarled on three major roadways snarled until almost noon.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer John Fransen said in an interview with Fox 2 that emergency responders while small crashes can usually be cleaned up and lanes reopened within a half an hour, crashes involving fatalities take more time.

By California law, it’s a requirement that the coroner come to the sight of a fatal crash. Add to this the need for evidence gathering to investigate and document the circumstances surrounding any crash where someone loses their life.

“We only have one time, one chance to be able to collect all the evidence we need to document this if it goes to court, whether it be criminal court or, ultimately, civil court as well, Officer Fransen said.

Because nearly half of all traffic snarls on California freeways are directly related to both small and large crashes, a multi-agency group, the Incident Management Task Force was formed.

This unit of emergency responders meets regularly. According to John Goodwin of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the task force is made up of representatives of Caltrans, the CHP, local law enforcement agencies and fire departments, county coroners, AAA, and the Federal Highway Administration.

To adequately investigate crashes and to keep Bay Area traffic flowing the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is focused on the goal of clearing incidents away from freeways and roadways as quickly as possible and to keep commuters moving.

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