A new friendly face is riding along on Utah’s highways with the UDOT Incident Management Team drivers: A soft, warm, fuzzy face of a teddy bear.
The teddy bear is part of a new program focused on helping those with young children cope in the face of accidents. IMT drivers are now carrying teddy bears to give away to those affected by a crash, especially since it can be a frightening experience for young children.
“The Utah Highway Patrol started handing out teddy bears to young children that had been involved in an accident. It seemed to help the child take his or her mind off the accident and get them something to comfort them,” UDOT state IMT manager Jeff Reynolds said. “The Incident Management Team has adopted the same program, due to limited space in police cruisers. In its short time, we have seen a meaningful impact on those we have been able to help.”
Reynolds said a citizen donation program is being considered in the future. UDOT and the Department of Public Safety will have more news when it becomes available.
The first goal of the IMT team is to make sure those involved in an accident and working an accident scene are safe and then clear the roads for other drivers to prevent secondary crashes. You’ll find them helping to change a tire, putting warning signs up to protect officials at an accident scene, giving a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist, or cleaning up after an accident. After the crash scene is secure, they want to help those in the crash feel safe and get the drivers on their way.
Please remember to give IMT and Highway Patrol adequate room when you see them passing and slow down to decrease the possibility of a secondary accident.
This post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.