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Editors Column

Struck-By Incidents – Not a New Problem

Friday, January 27, 2017

Recently Steve Austin forwarded an article which he found in the archives of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper while performing some recent research. The article involved a struck-by incident from July 1949. Located on the same page was an article warning people about the dangers of driving on the highways during the July 4, 1949 holiday season.

It is really interesting to note that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I believe that it is entirely possible that there may have been articles in Poor Richard’s Almanac penned by Benjamin Franklin which discussed constables in Philadelphia being struck by horses, wagons, and carriages. Heck, I think that it is possible to trace the history of struck-by incidents back to the Roman Empire. I imagine that there were stories that would have covered members of the Roam Legions being struck by chariots in the line of duty.

While the problem is one of a long-standing nature, it is one which has been attacked by a dedicated group of people for less than two decades. My friends and I here at have been hard at work on the problems facing our emergency responders and towing operators which inherent in working on the highways and byways of our great nation. It is hard to believe that we have been doing our thing for almost 18 years.

I guess that the old saying about time flying when you are doing something you enjoy needs to be modified a bit. Let me suggest that here in our highway safety world time seems to fly because we are performing some really rewarding things for the people that we know, love, and support. We continue to broaden our influence in the training arena. Not only are we training responders but we are working to create a cadre of instructors across the nation.

Sometimes my level of frustration rises a notch or two. Since it is my duty to post all struck-by, move-over law, and line-of-duty death articles to the website, I see the continuing toll of death and serious injury being caused by bad drivers. In spite of all of our hard work, it would seem that many more years of struggle lie ahead of us.

Think about it. Even if by some miracle of hard work we were able to training each and every one of the millions of police, fire, EMS, and towing industry operators where would that leave us? It is the millions of motorists across America who continue to place our highway responders in the crosshairs of the motor vehicles. Forgive me for being a bit negative, but I do it for a point.

The fact that we may never have a meaningful impact upon the general population of drivers means that our work training the folks who must be out operating on the highways is all the more important. As a matter of fact there are new developments which are being blended into our training programs.

Our organization is in the forefront of developing ways to operate in the face of the rise of such technology as driverless cars and trucks. Think about that one my friends. If we cannot get the attention of the people who are driving the cars out on the highways, how in the world are we going to get the attention of the computer operating the driverless vehicle? I cannot yet tell you how this will work, but we are studying it.

Let me suggest that it extremely important for you to join our Learning Network. We have a wide range of courses available which can help you and your agencies to prepare for operations on our highways. We also offer a route to receiving your federal traffic incident management (TIM) certification.

As we move into the new year, make training on highway safety a priority in your world. As always, we are here to help you. Take care and stay safe.

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