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News & Notes Fall/Winter 2013

Each quarter Safe Highway Matters highlights recent developments and news items about Safety Service Patrols across the country. Submit your News & Notes to

News & Notes Fall/Winter 2013


The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is launching a campaign this holiday season to crack down on driving under the influence. The CHP was recently awarded a grant to launch the statewide campaign during which they plan to make presentations on traffic safety and create sobriety checkpoints. With the help of this grant, the CHP aims to see a marked decrease in DUIs, resulting in safer roadways and less injury for California drivers. The focused campaign will run through September 2014.


CBS 4 Miami featured the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Road Rangers and recognized the patrol as integral to the team of first responders at roadway incidents. The September 9th video and online segment was a reminder to the public of FDOT’s free service to traveling motorists in need of assistance. Reporter Vanessa Borge rode along with a Road Ranger, assisting multiple motorists and showcasing the important help that operators throughout the state provide each day. Viewers were encouraged to contact the Road Rangers through Florida Highway Patrol’s dispatch numbers if they find themselves in danger on Florida’s roadways.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Four Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Unit recently created and launched a web-based application to streamline the reporting process and subsequent analysis for the Severe Incident Response Vehicle (SIRV) team. This application is more than a means of electronically collecting data; what sets it apart from other reporting tools is the business logic that has been built into the application, which allows the SIRV team to with one click, automatically generate performance measure reports that build on data gathered by the SIRV team to calculate contractual and performance metrics.

The SIRV application includes forms with data extracted from District Four’s Advanced Traffic Management System and wherever possible, auto-fill features and configurable dropdown menus. The data gathered from the mobile applications is saved in a central database and is used to generate reports of varying complexity, based on contractual and performance metrics of interest. The deployed application began saving the SIRV team significant time immediately, both in the completion of the forms and in the generation of metrics and reports.

The SIRV Mobile Application includes the following reports:

  • SIRV Incident Report (includes incident specific data gathered by SIRV staff – Incident Duration Reductions Times, Lane Closure Reduction Times, Agency Time Savings, Equipment Used, etc)
  • Road Ranger Vehicle Inspections (includes data gathered by SIRV staff inspecting Road Ranger Vehicles)
  • SIRV Vehicle Inspections (includes a vehicle checklist used by SIRV staff prior to the start of a shift)
  • SIRV Monthly Performance Report Measures Report (includes data gathered through Incidents Report and other calculated metrics)

Innovative tools such as the SIRV application allow the SIRV team to spend more time on activities related to incident management. This includes but is not limited to preparing the SIRV fleet, meeting with other response agencies, learning new incident management techniques and patrolling roadways. All of these activities contribute to safer and faster incident clearances, which make FDOT District Four’s roadways safer and more efficient for motorists.


The only municipal Safety Service Patrol in the state of Georgia made headlines in June for the service it provides to motorists in Johns Creek. The Transportation Response Vehicle (TRV) has been assisting motorists since August 2011 and patrols roadways Monday-Friday during rush hours performing similar services to the HERO program operated by the Georgia DOT. The Johns Creek TRV aims to help clear congestion by providing stranded motorists with assistance on basic repairs and with gas.

The Georgia DOT HERO program announced an expansion of its coverage areas into the majority of Douglas County along Interstate 20. HERO operators will now provide service up to Highway 5, whereas it previously stopped at Thornton Road. Georgia DOT expanded the patrol in mid-October and encouraged motorists requiring assistance in this area to dial 5-1-1 to reach the HERO patrol 24/7.


The Hawaii DOT Freeway Service Patrol expanded its coverage area in October to include three additional miles on the H-1 Freeway from Fort Weaver Rd to Ainakoa Avenue in Waialae. In addition to the expansion of patrol routes, patrol vehicles will receive an update with the addition of “push bumpers” that are used to move a stalled vehicle off the roadway to safety and to minimize damage to the vehicle.


In August, the Illinois Tollway announced that State Farm will be the exclusive sponsor of the Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) program that offers roadway assistance to customers in need. Through the sponsorship, Tollway H.E.L.P. trucks will now be seen on the road with an eye-catching new look – courtesy of State Farm. The innovative public-private partnership provides financial support for the successful H.E.L.P. program, furthering the Tollway’s efforts to reduce delay and improve safety for the motoring public while highlighting State Farm’s commitment to helping people recover from the unexpected. The partnership earned praise from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White:
Secretary of State Jesse White

Secretary of State Jesse White announced in August that the Illinois Tollway H.E.L.P. program would be receiving additional funding through a sponsorship with State Farm.

“My mission as Secretary of State is to make our roads as safe as possible, and I am proud of the fact that Illinois has become a national leader in road safety,” said White. “The Illinois Tollway’s H.E.L.P. program contributes to safer roads in a constructive manner designed to help stranded motorists in times of need. I applaud the Tollway for their efforts, and I commend State Farm for their generous financial support for the H.E.L.P. program.”
The H.E.L.P. program costs the Tollway about $2 million annually and has had a decisive impact on moving vulnerable drivers and their vehicles out of harm’s way, as well as reducing secondary accidents by a faster clearance of lane – blocking vehicles endangering ongoing traffic.
“This partnership is a win-win for Illinois,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Headquartered here in Illinois, State Farm has a proven track record of support for motorist assistance programs nationally, so I’m pleased that they have joined with us to keep Illinois Tollway drivers safe on our roadways.”


Louisiana Secretary Sheri LeBas and State Farm Representative Martin Cantu joined together to celebrate the announcement of sponsorship of the LADOTD Motorist Assistance Patrol last week.

Louisiana Secretary Sheri LeBas and State Farm Representative Martin Cantu joined together to celebrate the announcement of sponsorship of the LADOTD Motorist Assistance Patrol last week.

Last week the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced a new public-private agreement with State Farm for sponsorship of the MAP (Motorist Assistance Patrol) program. MAP is a service that offers roadway assistance to motorists in need. The collaboration provides a supplemental funding source for the highly effective traffic management program. As part of the sponsorship program, all MAP vehicles will receive an updated look with enhanced, highly reflective safety markings to make the vehicle more visible to motorists, especially at night. As the exclusive sponsor, the State Farm logo will be added to the MAP trucks and patrol operator uniforms. In addition to assisting motorists, the MAP program helps improve traffic flow and reduces traffic congestion caused by stalled vehicles, while at the same time, providing safety and comfort to those stranded. “DOTD is thrilled at the opportunity to work with State Farm,” DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas said. “State Farm’s sponsorship of DOTD’s Motorist Assistance Patrol program is a smart way to supplement operational costs of this important program.”

The Louisiana DOTD Motorist Assistance Patrol (MAP) Program, originated in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area, as part of congestion mitigation/pollution control project in 1998 with three patrol vehicles and 24 part-time operators. Due to the numerous benefits this program offers to motorists and the environment, the program continues to expand. Today, it provides services to the New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport metropolitan areas as well as assisting with construction projects statewide as needed.

In an effort to improve the overall program safety and to standardize operator safety training statewide, the position of State MAP Safety Manager was created. The LADOTD is also in the process of creating a more structured safety training program for existing operators and new hires.


Highway Assistance Patrol

MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey announced the expansion of the MAPFRE | Commerce Insurance Highway Assistance Patrol coverage areas and celebrated ten years of sponsorship of the program.

In October, MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey and Highway Administrator Frank DePaola joined legislative leaders and State Police to welcome MAPFRE USA President and CEO Jaime Tamayo to unveil MassDOT’s new Highway Assistance Patrol incident response vehicles sponsored by MAPFRE | Commerce Insurance and celebrate ten years together assisting Massachusetts motorists. MassDOT’s Highway Assistance Patrol and Incident Response Vehicles will now be assisting commuters on Interstate 93/O’Neill Tunnel running through Boston, as well as at the Tobin Bridge, Ted Williams Tunnels, Sumner and Callahan Tunnels. This is in addition to existing service in Greater Boston, Worcester, Springfield and seasonal service on Cape Cod.


An image of the New Jersey DOT Safety Service Patrol was featured in an article in the New Jersey Journal reminding motorists of the importance of moving over for first responders on the roadway. Assembly Transportation Chairman John Wizniewski, D-Sayrevillle, and Sen. Nicholas Sacco, D-North Bergen, have sponsored bills to require the commissioner of Transportation, to consult with the Director of the Division of Highway Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, to create a public awareness program to make sure motorists know they must change lanes or slow down when they’re coming up on a stationary emergency vehicle. Another bill was introduced to increase penalties for violators of the Move Over law, but neither have yet to be passed.

The New Jersey DOT Safety Service Patrol Sponsored by State Farm will be providing additional support for Super Bowl XLVIII traffic on February 2. The DOT will bring in extra workers to keep a particularly close watch on Routes 3, 21, 17 and 495.


The New York State Department of Transportation H.E.L.P. Sponsored by State Farm made national news during the Thanksgiving holiday. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams featured the patrol during a segment on the holiday’s travel rush and highlighted the program as one of the resources available to motorists who find themselves broken down on the roadway. H.E.L.P. was credited for being there for motorists who needed help during their travels.


Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) acknowledged Safety Service Patrol operators as “saviors” in an article discussing operators’ role on the roads, especially within major construction zones in Virginia. Virginia Megaprojects are taking place in Northern Virginia with work on both road and railways. The VDOT Safety Service Patrol has been employed to assist motorists in these areas in addition to their regularly patrolled routes as a relief for some of the difficulties that construction zones present to motorists. Patrol operators on these roads provide quickened road clearing and a safety assurance for motorists.


In December, the West Virginia Courtesy Patrol celebrated 15 years in operation on the state’s busiest roadways. Although the patrol once ran 24/7, it now runs 365 days a year from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in two shifts. The patrol currently consists of 25 patrol vehicles.

In Memoriam

In August, the transportation industry mourned the loss of a professional, expert and leader in the industry, Gary Millsaps. Gary previously worked for both the North Carolina and Georgia Departments of Transportation and in 2010 he began working at Delcan as an Incident Management Specialist in the Emergency Transportation Operations (ETO) division. Often called on to share his knowledge and experience of transportation incident management, Gary was featured in Safe Highway Matters’ “Headlights On…” column in Winter 2012 and offered insight and guidance to our readers. Please join us in offering our condolences to Gary’s friends and colleagues and to the Millsaps family.

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