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News & Notes Fall 2011

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 2011


The National Roadway Safety Awards is a biennial competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Roadway Safety Foundation to recognize roadway safety achievements that move the United States “toward zero deaths.” The competition highlights exemplary roadway safety efforts and publicizes best practices. Awards are given for infrastructure, operational, and program-related improvements and programs that address safety needs. The FHWA and the Roadway Safety Foundation stress the importance of strategic, data-driven approaches to improving safety on our nation’s roadways. In a call for nominations, with a submission deadline of June 30th, applicants were encouraged to nominate projects or programs that exemplify innovative and effective safety activities and that maximize the cost effectiveness of Federal, State, local, and/or private sector funds.

The National Roadway Safety Awards winning project designees will be announced in a ceremony in Washington D.C. on November 15th 2011, and the winners will have an opportunity to meet with legislators and key transportation officials, receive national media coverage, and appear in the 2011 Safety Best Practices Guide, Public Roads magazine, and the Roadway Safety Reporter, as well as other publications of national safety and transportation organizations.


The Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi officially launched a new Road Service Patrol in September 2011. The patrol aims to provide assistance to stranded motorists, including towing cars, changing tires, jump starting vehicles, and topping off fuel and coolant. Faisal Ahmed Al Suwaidi, General Director of Main Roads at the DoT, said, “Abu Dhabi is witnessing growth in all areas and sectors which necessitates providing quality traffic and road services to residents and citizens while ensuring the highest safety measures.”


Hawaii FSP recently added pickup/service trucks to its fleet.

The Hawaii Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) program is expanding adding nearly 4 miles of H-1, which has been said to be the second most congested section of freeway in the country. On Sunday, October 2, 2011 Hawaii’s Governor held a news conference announcing the FSP expansion that then began on Monday, October 3, 2011.  Currently, Hawaii DOT has three (3) FSP beats/routes with six roving tow trucks. The state of Hawaii DOT is adding three (3) FSP pickup/service trucks to the tow truck fleet. According to Harvey Heaton, Project Manager of the Hawaii FSP program, as with California and other states, the service pickup trucks have proven to be very useful when mixed with tow trucks on specific routes since the FSP pickups can perform about 70% to 80% of the motorist assist services, except for towing.  These pickup trucks are quad cab pickups so multiple stranded vehicle occupants can be transported off the freeway.


After 19 years as a Hoosier Helper, Steve Nagy retired on August 31, 2011. Nagy became a Hoosier Helper in 1991, soon after the program launched, making him one of three original Hoosier Helpers. Back then Nagy drove a little yellow van, but now the program has progressed through better trucks, vehicles and equipment as well as training. Before his time as a Hoosier Helper, Nagy worked in the steel mills for 21 years as a construction supervisor before his position was cut. After 50 years of working, Nagy finds it difficult to believe he will no longer have to go work, but is sure he will stay busy with his family.


KTA State Farm Safety Assist concludes its second summer season.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority completed another successful summer with their State Farm Safety Assist Program. This year the SFSA helped over 1,666 drivers arrive at their destinations safely, and they look forward to providing the same great service next summer.


The North Texas Tollway Authority’s Roadway Customer Service (RCS) program reached milestone in August 2011. Following each driver assist, RCS members hand a card to the person they’ve helped, asking for feedback. Many motorists send their thoughts back to the NTTA and on Wednesday, August 10th, the NTTA received its 5,000th commendation since the program began in 2008. It came from Warren Lee, a motorist who ran into trouble while driving on the Dallas North Tollway on a way to a meeting for his insurance business. Here’s what he wrote:

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to you and your staff!!! I feel that an email is an inefficient manner in which to do so. My day was saved and made by members of your team this morning!

I had a flat tire on the Tollway at roughly 11:45 a.m. The temperature reading in the car said 108! I pulled to a stop and within 2 minutes the RCS truck was pulling up to help me. I had already begun to get my spare tire out, but the two gentlemen who arrived actually did everything for me. They were so nice and worked so efficiently. I had no idea that service existed. I was truly blown away. I actually made it to the meeting on time because of their help.

They were also so polite and courteous as well. I wanted to give them a tip, but they refused. I offered to buy them lunch, but they wouldn’t accept. It seemed they truly wanted to help me and get me back on my way.

I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude. The two gentlemen really made my day. Please pass along my gratitude to them as well. I was in the silver car they helped. This was such a wonderful and welcome surprise. I have been lauding the NTTA all day, as I am most appreciative.

Lee speaks for many of the other 4,999 people who have taken the time to contact the NTTA to say, “Thanks.”

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s HERO program celebrated its first year anniversary in September. The program assisted more than 5,000 people in its first year of operation. Leslie Kuykendall is one of the five thousand people assisted by HERO.  She was driving home from work when she heard a loud noise and pulled off the road. “I was on the phone with 911 when I looked up and there was a HERO truck parked next to me. The HERO technician changed my tire, filled my spare with air and got me on my way. I was so relieved that something like that existed here in Austin. He was a godsend. I could have hugged him.”

The HERO program is set to end in September 2012 when a $1.8 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act runs out. The Mobility Authority is currently working with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to identify additional funding to extend the program for an additional three years. The Mobility Authority is also seeking corporate sponsors to help underwrite the program and expand the service.

Back to Safe Highway Matters: Fall 2011

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