Traffic Incident Management Unit

NYSP enforcing work zone on a bridge.

Following a tragic crash on I-81 in Troop C, where an out of control commercial bus entered the closed work area killing three highway workers, the state enacted the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, which charged New York State Department Of Transportation with implementing rules and regulations for the increased safety of work zones in conjunction with the Superintendent of State Police. The act mandated a police presence at all major active work zones as defined by rules and regulations set forth by the commissioner, the use of radar speed display signs at all major active work zones as defined by rules and regulations set forth by the commissioner, and a system for reviewing work zone safety and design for all work zones under the jurisdiction of the department.

In addition to work zone safety and enforcement, traffic safety professionals nationwide have embraced an agenda promoting the "quick clearance" of traffic crashes to avoid secondary collisions that frequently occur. The concept often conflicts with traditional law enforcement missions and practices of other emergency responders and it is necessary to achieve a balance between crash investigations, emergency response and quick clearance. That balance requires the cooperation of all responding entities. The field of Traffic Incident Management (TIM) evolved from the application of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to the highway environment as a means to achieve that balance.

In order to better achieve the goals of the Work Zone Safety Act and implement the proven concepts and practices of Traffic Incident Management, the Division established a statewide TIM Unit in 2008. The Division created the TIM Unit which has one Team in each of the Division's nine geographic Troops (Troops T & NYC excluded). Each Troop TIM team has one supervisor and a proportionate number of Troopers assigned depending on its geographic size and work zone activity.

Trooper using radar on construction equipment in a work zone.

TIM Unit Members have been specifically trained in the quick clearance of roadways after a major traffic incident in order to prevent secondary crashes and/or heavy congestion. TIM Unit Members respond to major traffic incidents at a moments notice and assist local patrols when needed. Division's TIM Unit has been an effective tool in reducing the incidence of crashes and fatalities in and around work zones as well as in targeted areas in desperate need of a police presence. In addition, the Unit's efficiency in clearing major incidents in a timely manner has provided increased officer safety and benefits to the motoring public, both in terms of a reduction in secondary incidents and a decrease in congestion. TIM Unit Supervisors meet regularly with other emergency responders and personnel from the Department of Transportation and the towing and recovery industry to foster partnerships that will assist when responding to traffic incidents.

TIM Unit Members have undergone extensive training in the detection of auto theft, motorcycle enforcement, commercial vehicle enforcement, criminal interdiction, fraudulent documents, targeted traffic enforcement strategies (covering such issues as speed and aggressive driving, impaired driving, unrestrained occupants and work zone enforcement). In addition, every member of the Unit is North American Standard Truck Inspection (NASTI) Level III certified to conduct inspections of commercial vehicles, allowing them to provide valuable assistance to Division's Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit (CVEU) and to their respective Troops.