STATE OF VERMONT
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
VERMONT STATE POLICE
MEDIA CRASH SCENE ACCESS
December 12, 2016 - Vermonters can certainly say that the winter driving season is upon us, and the Vermont State Police would like to remind media groups of some safety considerations and best practice suggestions while covering interstate motor vehicle events.
Historically and during the last couple of weeks, first responders have encountered dangerous conditions at crash scenes due to visibility limitations, road conditions, and ongoing traffic. Media organizations who decide to cover an incident of this nature are encouraged to follow a few simple guidelines designed to protect them, the traveling public, and emergency responders:
* Please inform the local dispatch of your intent to travel to a crash. This allows troopers on scene to expect your arrival, and work with you to park and attain access to the scene. There may be instances when you are asked to avoid the area as difficult circumstances could make safety for all a challenge.
* When parking your vehicle, travel BEYOND the responding emergency vehicles and park PAST their position on scene, with your hazards on. Keep to the same side of the road as the parked cruisers. This keeps your vehicle out of the lane of travel and prevents your vehicle from blocking safety lights for oncoming travelers. This also protects your vehicle.
* Wear a high-visibility safety vest while on scene. You will be asked to leave without one. This is a VOSHA requirement.
* Please have appropriate media identification.
* Work with the scene commander to access a safe place from which to gather your material.
* NEVER use a U-turn to access a crash scene. This is against the law. ONLY authorized vehicles are allowed to use U-turns. Plan your route accordingly.
Also, please remember that the emergency dispatch centers are extremely busy during periods of tough winter travel. During these events, dispatchers are fielding numerous calls from distressed drivers, first responders and law enforcement, while attempting to assist those in difficulty and those trying to help. While we encourage you to inform dispatch of your intent to travel to a particular event, please do not call dispatch for guidance on where to go to find crash scenes. http://newengland511.org/ and @511VT on Twitter have the most up to date info on weather/road conditions and traffic issues.
While winter is certainly the time of year where dangerous travel conditions tend to persist, these guidelines should be followed year-round, and at all incidents, no matter the location or weather. Please contact Lieutenant John Flannigan at the Williston barracks or Public Information Officer Scott Waterman with any questions or concerns.
Lieutenant John Flannigan – Traffic Operations Unit - 802-878-7111
Vermont State Police Public Information Officer