This report is designed to assist transportation agencies in facilitating the safe and quick clearance of traffic incidents. These incidents range from vehicle disablements and minor crashes to major incidents requiring potentially significant clearance and investigation times. The report profiles laws, policies, and procedures for facilitating clearance of traffic incidents, primarily those initially blocking travel lanes and attended to by the vehicle operator, on highways in urban and rural areas. In recognizing the unique challenges faced by jurisdictions across the country, the study also reports on successful specific-site traffic incident clearance and investigative activities employed to quickly mitigate incidents of varying severity. The report discusses quick clearance legislation, hold harmless laws, and policies governing the removal of accident victims. Also discussed are the duties of private tow companies; various policies governing the rapid clearance of overturned semi-tractor trailers; appropriate actions to take when there is an accompanying fuel spill; and technologies used to provide for continual, uninterrupted flow of communications between agencies participating in incident clearance activities. Appendixes provide a copy of the survey questionnaire and various materials relating to quick clearance. Information for this report was derived primarily from a detailed survey questionnaire that was distributed to transportation and related agencies in all 50 states. The study also reports on an extensive literature review to identify laws, policies, and information campaigns supporting existing quick clearance practices.

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    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Dunn, W M
    • Latoski, S P
  • Publication Date: 2003


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 153 p.
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00962206
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309069661
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Project 20-5 FY 2001,, Topic 33-05
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2003 12:00AM