Speed bumps slow traffic for roadside emergency crews

GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – An Upstate fire department is using a new method that’s getting people to slow down when passing first responders.

The Tigerville Fire Department is now deploying portable speed bumps to help protect its crews, and their patients.

“We’d have cars in the lane adjacent to us go by at 60 miles an hour,” said Chief Russell Ledford. “There’s no coming back from a 60 mile an hour impact with a human being. If a fireman is getting a piece of equipment off a truck and steps around a corner, it’s done and it’s over with at that point.”

It’s the kind of dangers Chief Ledford says crews are facing from drivers when stopped for emergencies.

When out on calls, he says they’ve tried just about everything before their decision to get portable speed bumps.

“We’ve tried putting cones out. We’ve tried putting slow signs out on the side of the road. We tried to position the trucks. It really came down to the point where we were given no option but to shut the road down,” he said. “We deploy it just before our engine, just before coming into the accident scene. That slows the traffic down, they go over the speed bump, and we know they’re going by at a safe speed at that point.”

A safe speed tow truck operator Michael Knapp says is needed.

“I think it’s going to be helpful because it’s going to slow the people down but like I said, you’re still going to have someone who’s going to be crazy and not pay it any attention,” said Knapp.

It’s something Chief Ledford says has happened.

“We’ve had cars hit it at 50 plus miles an hour,” he said. “It hasn’t done any damage to the car.”

At a cost of about $440, he said the results have been worth it.

“Yes, it’s a hindrance for you to drive over it and slow down for it but at the same time it keeps us from shutting the roadway down completely and keeps traffic moving,” he said. “If it saves one person’s life – whether it’s ours or a patient that we’re dealing with on the side of the road in an emergency incident, it’s paid for itself 10 fold over.”


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