Plan released on how to clear accidents faster

KNOX COUNTY, TENN (WVLT) -- There were 7 wrecks in Knox County before noon on a rainy Thursday morning, slow the commute of people trying to get to work or school. Drivers say it can get frustrating to get stuck and have nothing to do but set.

"It's time consuming especially if you 've got to be to work on time or something," said Michael Bradley of Knoxville.

"And it ties up your time, messes up your timetable," added Virginia Griesinger.

After a December 2011 crash of a potato truck on Interstate 40 took up to 12 hours and an overnight stay for drivers, the Tennessee transportation leader said something had to be done.

“Following the potato truck crash in December, we made a promise to the public that we would initiate changes to avoid this type of situation in the future,” said Commissioner John Schroer. “We now have specific guidelines that can dramatically reduce the time it takes to clear major incidents from our interstates and major highways.”

TDOT plans to work closer with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, to keep communication open on what exactly each agency will do during an accident. They've also set up a list of actions that each will take.

"I think keeping the paths of communication open by all parties involved that's something that is certainly going to help get this road open as quickly as possible," said Mark Nagi, TDOT Spokesperson. "Everyones responsibilities are written out everyone knows specifically what they have to do when an incident occurs."

The goal of the agreement is to ensure public safety and restore Tennessee roadways to full capacity as soon as possible following highway incidents.

The agreement includes a number of new procedures, including the goal of clearing an accident with in 90 minutes.

“We have an obligation to the people of this state and the motorists traveling our roadways to improve our operations and communication,” added Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons. “This agreement will allow us to make earlier determinations about the magnitude of an incident and take appropriate action to not only reopen the roadway, but also improve safety for motorists and responders.”

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