Today we hosted a Table Top Exercise (TTX) to discuss and train on the issue of “Animals in the Road”. (We being ADA’s Animal Services Division and the State Vet’s Office) If you’re wondering why this concerns us as much as it does, here’s a good example from near Sunset Point in 2011.
Several folks from many different agencies participated. AZ Dept of Transportation (ADOT), Pinal and Maricopa Counties’ Emergency Managers, AZ Dept of Public Safety (DPS) staff, along with several fire departments’ and county sheriff’s offices’ personnel attended the half-day session. Our thanks to all those who came and contributed to developing a better response capability.
There aren’t a lot of extensive data on how large the issue is. But here are a few conservative figures. Roughly 50 million cattle are transported annually in the US. The swine industry estimates that over 600,000 pigs are moving every day. The number of small horse and livestock trailers on the road everyday is nearly countless.
From a Canadian researcher, between 2000 and 2007 there were over 400 crashes in US and Canada.
- Weather was a factor in only 1%
- Driver fatigue and error were the main causes – 85%
- ~60% occurred between midnight and 9am
- 80% involved a single vehicle.
I hope you’re getting an understanding of why this is important to us.
The discussion today focused on a few main points – (1) the legal situations that come into play, (2) the practical aspects of dealing with mangled trailers and loose or injured livestock, and (3) the responsibilities and capabilities of the various groups and agencies which respond.
There were 2 scenarios.
The first involved a pick up truck and trailer hauling several horses. It was traveling southbound on the interstate when the driver lost control, struck a guardrail causing the truck and the trailer to overturn. This scenario had an unconscious driver along with loose and injured horses. The crash was blocking 2 lanes of traffic.
The second involved a semi-tractor hauling a load of cattle. The driver lost control resulting in a crash with the tractor trailer sliding on its side and the trailer coming to rest dangling over a ravine.
Both these scenarios were taken from real-life situations.
I’ll leave the details of those scenarios and the discussions and recommendations for a latter post. But within the next few days I hope to post much of the material presented and discussed on the blog for others’ benefit. If you’re interested in learning how to effectively help in situations like these, please contact our office.
And remember to enjoy the ride!