A Waco Fire Department spokesperson issued a public notice on May 6 warning all motorists to use more caution when traveling along Interstate 35’s construction zones. They issued this warning after one of their firetrucks was struck this past Sunday. While no one got hurt in this most recent crash, construction has only just begun on I-35. It was on that same highway that several firefighters were seriously hurt back in 2015.
Fire Engine No. 5 was dispatched to an accident that had occurred along I-35 South just before 5:15 p.m. on May 5. They were supposed to provide protection for paramedics who were working the crash scene.
It wasn’t long after they arrived on the scene that the driver of a Tesla fast approached and crashed into their truck, causing significant driver side damage. Police determined that the car’s operator was likely distracted before the collision occurred.
Fire officials are concerned that this most recent crash is the first of many similar incidents that are likely to occur in the future. The I-35 expansion is expected to take four years to finish.
A Waco Fire Department spokesperson notes that Station No. 5 firefighters are particularly vulnerable to getting hurt as they’re frequently dispatched to wrecks that occur along I-35.
The department instituted a policy requiring firefighters to be dispatched to crash scenes to block lanes in October 2015. Two firefighters were struck and seriously injured that month while attempting to put out a grass fire that had ignited along a part of I-35 South.
Texas Department of Public Safety stepped up their enforcement of the state’s Move Over Law this past January. Motorists are expected to move over when they see an emergency vehicle in an adjacent lane. If they’re unable to do so, then they’re supposed to reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour instead.
Interstates are some of the most dangerous places for motorists’ cars to break down or for accidents to occur. Drivers aren’t safe standing around their vehicles. They run the risk of their vehicle being struck if they stay inside of them as well.
Police officers, paramedics, construction workers and firefighters are all also at significant risk. Those injured in crashes on highways should reach out to an attorney to learn more about getting their medical costs covered.