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Responding to an Accident: Cobb PD’s 90-Minute Rule

Plus find out what you can do to prepare for the impacts of major accidents.

When Cobb police respond to a major accident like Public Information Officer Dana Pierce said the department holds itself to a strict standard when reopening the scene to traffic.

“We have an unwritten 90-minute rule within the police department,” he said. “It’s just our own standard that we try to work with DOT. If everybody did that in the Atlanta area we’d all be better for it. It’s our unwritten rule. 90 minutes.”

All lanes of I-285 eastbound just west of the Chattahoochee River were at a standstill after the three-car fatality accident Thursday.

“The first lane opened at 94 minutes (…) So we bled all that traffic off, opened that lane and closed it again. Then we finished it out and opened all lanes of traffic about 15 or 20 minutes later,” he said.

What You Can Do

Be prepared in case of an accident that blocks traffic. Sign up for Nixle alerts. Police departments nationwide partner with Nixle to get public safety notices out to the community electronically.

In the event of a major accident like the one Thursday that brought traffic to a standstill, you’ll receive a text message and an email from your local police department. The messages are used to communicate accidents, Amber Alerts and detour routes. 

“I don’t use it a whole lot except for these type of situations,” Pierce said. “In our case it’s when it hits the fan, we put it out there. And last night it obviously hit the fan.”

You can also sign up for Smyrna-Vinings Patch breaking news alerts. We’ll send you an email with a link to all the details as they’re available. Pierce and other PIOs work with the media in the event of an accident to communicate detour routes.

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Woody J August 18, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Cut it to 30 minutes. Video tape the scene. Stop and reroute traffic immediately back to the previous exit including let drivers turn around at the scene and drive back up to that last on-ramp and get out of the area if possible. Too many times I see officers lollygagging about the accident scene when they could be more helpful preventing a severe traffic backup
Jen in Smyrna August 18, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Regardless I think the 90 minute rule is pretty awesome. Once again Cobb County setting the standard. Could you imagine if the accident happened on the Fulton County side or even in Dekalb? It would have taken several hours for them to do the same thing.

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