By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4) – Emergency response crews across Colorado are training to move crashes out of the way, rather than wait for tow trucks to arrive.
The technique utilizes snowplows, cruisers, and courtesy vehicles from the Colorado Department of Transportation to make roads safer.
Colorado drivers know that accidents on the interstates can cause big traffic backups and long delays.
The Colorado State Patrol is leading the efforts to help cut down on crash delays.
Most state trooper vehicles have push bumpers on the front ends so that troopers can shove broken down or wrecked vehicles out of the way of traffic.
The push helps to keep traffic flowing, prevent secondary crashes, and improve safety for first responders.
In 2015, Trooper Jaimie Jursevics was killed while investigating an accident on Interstate 25 near Tomah Road.
In 2016, Trooper Cody Donahue was also fatally injured after being hit while responding to an accident on the same stretch of the interstate.
“Literally, lives depend on it. So, is it the reason we’re doing it? No. But is it an added motivation to make it a little more personal to the men and women of the state patrol and first responders? Absolutely,” said Col. Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.
So far in August, CSP has already seen 19 deadly wrecks that claimed 20 lives.
“That number is completely appalling and unacceptable to me,” Packard told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “These are human beings. That’s somebody’s mother, somebody’s brother, somebody’s sister… I don’t want that next notification today or tomorrow or the day after that,” he added.
Drivers involved in wrecks in which cars are blocking traffic can expect to be plowed off highways.
Officials said that responders were already pushing cars to the side every day.