Kansas City Scout


Monday, March 7, 2011

Driver Removal Laws

Posted by Nancy Powell
Kansas City Scout TMC Supervisor

Springtime is fast approaching and with it, added roadway congestion due to many construction and roadway improvement projects. With lanes already restricted, the impact of stalls and accidents is magnified. Both Missouri and Kansas have enacted laws to lessen the problem, by requiring drivers to remove vehicles obstructing the regular flow of traffic on the roadway, following non-injury accidents.

The Missouri statute, enacted in 1998 reads as follows: “Except in the case of an accident resulting in the injury or death of any person, the driver of a vehicle which for any reason obstructs the regular flow of traffic on the roadway of any state highway shall make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle or have it moved so as not to block the regular flow of traffic.” (RSMo 304.151).

Kansas adopted HB2147 on March 18, 2009, which states: “Except in the case of an accident involving death or apparent injury of any person, or the transportation of hazardous material, the owner or driver of a vehicle which obstructs the regular flow of traffic on any interstate highway, U.S. highway, or any multilane or divided roadway, shall make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle from the roadway, if, moving the vehicle may be done safely, does not require towing and may be operated under its own power without further damage to the vehicle or the roadway and without endangering other vehicles or persons upon the roadway.”

Law enforcement public awareness campaigns in the past have referred to this as “Steer It or Clear It,” encouraging drivers to move vehicles following non-injury accidents, whenever possible. Failure to do so may result in a citation. Secondary collisions are not uncommon and often involve injuries and greater property damage.

Drivers remaining in a travel lane following a non-injury accident put themselves, as well as approaching motorists and emergency responders at increased risk. Many drivers are initially reluctant to move their vehicles following a minor incident, assuming or having been taught that vehicles must not be moved until law enforcement officers arrive on scene to properly assess responsibility. Drivers may also falsely believe that insurance companies will deny a claim for damages if the vehicles are moved.

Being informed of driver removal laws benefits everyone, but only if people are aware that these laws exist. For more information, visit the FHWA section on this topic at: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop09005/driv_removal.htm