This silly Federal mandate is creating potentially deadly local confusion

Posted: September 9, 2021 by Jon Fournier in Uncategorized
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The Obama administration set an all time record for issuing federal mandates which unconstitutionally reached down to the local level.  One of which, the renumbering of highway exits, is just now being implemented on the local level here in my state.  On the surface this mandate seems rather innocuous.  In reality this mandate is creating a lot of confusion.  Over the labor day weekend this confusion had the potential of killing someone in my town.

The town I live in is bisected by a major highway and in my town there are three exits from that highway.  Ever since that highway was built fifty years ago the exits were numbered 1, 2 and 3.  Now they are numbered 2, 3, and 5 because the Obama administration decreed that all exits are now numbered by the mile markers they are at.

Renumbering exits after fifty years is causing a lot of confusion for town residents and motorists which can be comical.  This renumbering is causing a great deal of confusion amongst the police and fire department in my town and this confusion could potentially have killed someone over this past weekend.  I heard it unfold over my police scanner.

Instead of informing the units that an accident happened at a certain exit or the best access is this number exit the dispatcher for the police and fire departments now tell all units that “the incident is at the new exit number which was this old exit”.  This takes extra time which is not good during an emergency.  The dispatchers try real hard to use this system for every call but they do not always.  Neither do the police or fire units.  Sometimes the dispatchers use just the old exit numbers and sometimes the new numbers.  The police and fire units do the same.  This has caused a great deal of confusion since the exits were renumbered a month ago.

This past Sunday evening there were two major roll over accidents on the highway at roughly the same time.  Police and fire units were called in from two surrounding towns.  Dispatchers and emergency units kept mixing up old and new exit numbers.  Units were sent to the wrong exits.  This created delays in response time.  This could have resulted in someone’s death, luckily it did not. 

Because everyone is so used to the old system after fifty years and during a stressful emergency situations people tend to fall back on old habits I can see this happening for years despite having top notch dispatchers and first responders in my town.  This could easily be happening in towns and cities across this country because of s silly federal mandate.

  1. roy in nipomo says:

    As a 9-1-1 dispatcher for 35 years, one month to convert everyone over is excessive and unprofessional. Leadership should have said when the switchover was and enforced it. No one now working was there at the start, so the fact that the old system was there for 50 years is a non sequitur, so it is just a matter of “that’s what we used to use, but now it has changed.” It isn’t that much different from when a location changes business names.

    Also, “the Obama Administration”?

  2. Sailorcurt says:

    As someone who travels for work a lot, I can see the benefit of numbering exits based on their mile markers rather than just an arbitrary number set.

    When exits used to be just arbitrarily numbered, there was no way of knowing where, geographically speaking, the exit actually was. In which direction does the numbering start? How far apart are the exits? Are they equidistant or are some closer together than others?

    Numbering them based on mile markers makes it very easy to figure out where to find an exit along the road.

    While I don’t agree with the federal government mandating anything to state and local governments, the new numbering system makes a lot of sense. Any change is difficult for people to adapt to, that’s not a valid reason to avoid change just for the sake of avoidance.

    And, based on my military experience, as the previous poster said, the fix for this is training and repetition. Failures at the street level as a result of this change, especially weeks or months after it has been implemented, reflect ineffective leadership. If the troops don’t know how to deal with a change like this, the problem is at the top.