CHP Teams with Caltrans, MTC to Help Bay Area Drivers "Clear the Way" | News

News Release

CHP Teams with Caltrans, MTC to Help Bay Area Drivers "Clear the Way"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OAKLAND, CA — The California Highway Patrol, Golden Gate Division (CHP, GGD) — in partnership with Caltrans District 4 and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) — today unveiled new roadside advisory signs along Interstate 880 in the East Bay as part of the kickoff for a campaign to remind drivers of their responsibility to “Clear the Way” after minor traffic accidents in which no one is injured and the involved vehicles can be moved safely off the road or highway.

The Clear the Way campaign is part of a demonstration project being conducted along the Interstate 880 corridor between Oakland and Milpitas to test new strategies for improving freeway operations, and to measure the effectiveness of enhanced tools being used by the CHP, Caltrans and MTC to manage the Bay Area’s freeway system.

“For the past nine years,” explained CHP Assistant Chief Jon Lopey, “State law has allowed motorists involved in a traffic collision that results in minor property damage to move their vehicles off the main lanes of the highway to a safe location nearby. But public knowledge of the law remains very limited. So deployment of the ‘Clear the Way’ signs is a quick, low-cost strategy with the potential to deliver very big benefits.”

Senate Bill 681, signed into law in September 1999, amended Sections 20002 and 23113 of the California Vehicle Code to create the “Clear the Way” provision. Prior to SB 681, motorists involved in traffic accidents were required by law to “immediately stop” at the scene of the incident. But with the passage of SB 681, motorists are now required to exchange license and vehicle registration information at a location off the main roadway.

“Accidents, stalls and other incidents account for about half of all the congestion on Bay Area freeways,” noted MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd. “And delays are compounded by motorists’ failure to move their vehicles out of the traffic lanes after they have been involved in a fender bender.”

A total of 15 “Clear the Way” advisory signs have been installed along Interstate 880 from 7th Street/West Grand Avenue in Oakland to Industrial Parkway in Hayward. The goals of the sign demonstration are to:

  • educate motorists about the “Clear the Way” law, which allows motorists to move vehicles off the main lanes of the highway without affecting the question of fault;
  • reduce the number of secondary collisions caused by reduced speeds resulting from traffic impediments and rubberneckers;
  • reduce delay and loss of productivity caused by minor incidents; and
  • improve operational efficiency and mobility within a major trade corridor.

The California Highway Patrol is responsible for traffic safety and saving lives on the road. Caltrans owns and operates the state highway system. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

For a translated version of this press release (available in Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese), please contact the Public Information office at (415) 778-6757.

Sgt. Trent Cross, CHP Golden Gate Division: (707) 373-7892
Lauren Wonder, Caltrans District 4: (510) 286-6120 
John Goodwin, MTC: (415) 778-5262

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