State safety and transportation officials on Thursday unveiled new protocols aimed at getting major highways reopened more quickly after crashes.
Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and Tennessee Safety Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons announced the new rules during a news conference in Nashville.
Among them is a goal of 90 minutes maximum to reopen highways at crash sites, a reassessment of a wreck situation every 30 minutes and new rules regarding towing companies.
The departments began working on new procedures in December after a truck carrying potatoes crashed in Wilson County, closing Interstate 40 for nearly 12 hours and stranding hundreds of motorists overnight.
"Following the potato truck crash in December, we made a promise to the public that we would initiate changes to avoid this type of situation in the future," Commissioner Schroer said in a release. "We now have specific guidelines that can dramatically reduce the time it takes to clear major incidents from our interstates and major highways."
"We have an obligation to the people of this state and the motorists traveling our roadways to improve our operations and communication," Commissioner Gibbons added. "This agreement will allow us to make earlier determinations about the magnitude of an incident and take appropriate action to not only reopen the roadway, but also improve safety for motorists and responders."