To help improve highway safety, the state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) in Kansas and Missouri have partnered with crowdsourced navigation application Waze on a pilot program to warn drivers when roadside assistance or emergency vehicles are in the vicinity.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has teamed up with its counterparts in Missouri (MoDOT) to initiate a pilot program in four Kansas metropolitan areas that alerts drivers when motorist assist vehicles are nearby. Drivers in Kansas City, Wichita, Salina and Topeka can receive the digital alerts via the Waze mobile navigation app when they are approaching Kansas Motorist Assist Program vehicles or, in Missouri, the Emergency Response program vehicles that are actively providing roadside services. The Kansas Motorist Assist Program is funded by KDOT and administered by the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP).
Collisions and struck-by incidents are common across the USA and rank as leading causes of death for firefighters and police officers, as well as other first responders such as EMS (emergency medical services), motorist assistance vehicles, tow truck operators and highway maintenance workers. A total of 19 Kansas vehicles and 12 Missouri vehicles are using the technology. The digital alerting service uses GPS and cellular technologies to precisely track and transmit the digital alerts to nearby motorists. This provides drivers with advance warning and time to safely slow down and change lanes in compliance with Kansas’ ‘Move Over Law’ and Missouri’s ‘Move Over, Slow Down’ law.
“We’re excited to adopt this technology to make our roads safer for both our emergency responders and highway motorists,” said Shari Hilliard, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) engineer for KDOT. “We believe this digital alerting service will prevent collisions and save lives, and we’re pleased to be partnering with Missouri officials to pursue this goal together.”