Monthly Archives: May 2010

Incident Management Teams: UDOT’s angels in white trucks provide assistance to stranded motorists

As part of Public Service Recognition Week, Utah State Government Executives were asked by Governor Herbert to spend part of the day with state workers who provide direct help to the public. UDOT’s Incident Management Teams are trained to work with Highway Patrol officers at accident scenes, come to the aid of stranded motorists and remove dangerous debris from the freeways.

Like guardian angels of motorists on state roadways, IMT workers spend most of the day looking for people who need help. Director John Njord spent a few hours patrolling I-15 in an IMT truck with Jeff Reynolds.

IMT worker Jeff Reynolds, left, and Director John Njord, far right, look on as a motorists calls for assistance. Jeff first makes sure the motorist is not hurt and is safely away from traffic.

The red car had a punctured gas tank. A large jagged piece of steel was the culprit.

The red car had a punctured gas tank. A jagged piece of steel, bottom right, is the culprit.

Jeff and John discuss the scene and determine that the very small amount of spilled gas and stopped car do not pose a hazard.

Jeff and John discuss the scene with IMT Coordinator Dave Stallworth. Luckily, the amount of gas spilled is very minimal, and does not pose a hazard to the public.

Soon confirmation is received that a tow truck is on the way, so the IMT truck is back on the road. Most stranded motorists who get IMT help see resolution within 30 minutes.

John thanks IMT Coordinator Dave Stallworth. IMT workers are work long days and are on call 24/7.

John thanks IMT Coordinator Dave Stallworth. Dave and his team work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, but are on call 24/7.

Jeff and Dave talk about truck mileage and maintenance briefly before going back on patrol.

Jeff and Dave briefly discuss truck mileage and maintenance issues before going back on patrol.

Drive Aware. Ride Aware. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

The Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) is a partner with UDOT in keeping state roads as safe as possible. Last week, the DPS Highway Safety Office held an event focusing on motorcycle safety with a “Drive Aware. Ride Aware.” message.

Unified in name and purpose: Jason Smith, Jason Gavin and Jason Ackerman, officers with the Salt Lake County Unified Police Department, hold a sign urging bikers to “Ride Aware.”

Accident survivor Annie Wise's colorful head scarf hides a scar that serves as a permanent reminder to wear protective equipment while riding.

Eighty-five percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the rider, says Colonel Danny Fuhr, Superintendant of the Utah Highway Patrol. “Our crash bubble is our helmet or protective gear.” Protective gear includes a helmet, goggles, jacket, gloves, leather chaps, boots, etc.

Accident survivor Annie Wise was only going a short distance on her motorcycle, so she didn’t think it was necessary to put on all of her protective gear.  While driving up Weber Canyon, a car forced her off the road. She tumbled off her bike and suffered a broken ankle, broken face bones and other injuries. “My injuries were preventable,” says Annie, noting she was not wearing a helmet or boots.

The driver of the car that hit Annie did not even stop. “Also, drivers, be aware,” says Annie. “There are blind spots, and motorcycles have a tendency to hide in those little tiny blind spots.”

Brian Hepworth, of Weber County’s chapter of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE), also believes riders and drivers need to be educated about motorcycle safety practices. He participates in Share the Road, a state and federal-funded rider

Brian Hepworth of Weber County ABATE shows his "Share the Road" patch.

education program for high school students.  “I call it preventative medicine,” says Brian, because many students are made aware of safety practices before they start driving cars or riding motorcycles. He thinks the program is far-reaching since each child potentially takes the message to friends and family members.

“We’re out there and we’ll be out there in numbers,” says Tim “Eye” Gronwald. Eye thinks more people will choose to ride motorcycles this summer because of high gas prices. He suggests that new riders take a safety course before they hit the road. For information on Utah’s rider training courses call 1-800-532-7691.

Utah’s DRIVE AWARE. RIDE AWARE. Safety campaign focuses on reducing rate of motorcycle crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities by increasing the awareness of both motorists and motorcyclists. In its third year, the campaign has featured slogans such as “Asphalt. World’s Fastest Tattoo Remover.”, “Bugs Wash Off. SUVs Don’t.” and the newest message “Cars have Bumpers. Bikers have Bones.”