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News & Notes Spring 2012

News & Notes Spring 2012


AASHTO announced in April that it would be holding its national Faces of Transportation photo contest for 2012 and for the first year in its eight year run, the competition will be open to the general public in addition to state departments of transportation. This year’s theme for the contest is “Framing the Benefits of Transportation” and includes three categories for submissions: “Building the Future,” “On the Road,” and “Taking a Ride.” Safety Service Patrols can receive additional recognition for their superb work in communities throughout the nation by submitting digital photographs of the patrols at work. The competition will run through July 31, 2012 with judges deciding the winners and the photograph receiving the highest number of online votes will receive the People’s Choice Award. To find out more information, including the competition’s official rules, and to learn more about past winners, please visit


In South Africa, the Eastern Cape Department of Transport is offering additional training to their SSP program called, similarly to Florida DOT’s patrol, the Road Rangers. The Eastern Cape DOT recently started a two-day training program that focuses on Occupational Health and Safety for all Road Rangers in the province. This training program emphasizes the importance of using personal protective equipment, such as helmets and reflective clothing, to protect Road Rangers while on the job. The Eastern Cape’s Road Rangers fix and maintain gates along the road, report accidents, assist in scholar patrol and road crossings, and work with the South African Police Service. This program was initially created to reduce accidents, monitor stray animals, and guard against theft. Now, the Road Ranger program has also become important in raising awareness of road safety and assisting in the socio-economic development of rural populations.


As previously reported, the spike in gas prices continues to cause alarm for Safety Service Patrols offering a gallon of gas to stranded motorists. In the Fresno, California, the Freeway Service Patrol felt the effects of the $4.35/gallon price tag at the pumps in March. Many days patrol drivers would exhaust their entire supply of gasoline with three trucks going through 24 gallons of fuel on a particularly busy Friday.

In case you missed it, California’s Freeway Service Patrol in Sacramento received some additional attention and praise from a grateful motorist in early March. Scaramento Bee’s Associate Editor, Ginger Rutland shared her experience in this great piece:


Following a seven-month pilot project back in 2010, in February the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) added two crash teams of I-95 severe incident responders as permanent fixtures in Palm Beach County. The pilot project proved the usefulness of the teams as it credited them with reducing the time it took to clear up 39 of 87 major crashes they responded to, saving motorists more than 15 hours of traffic and frustration. Made up of retired police officers and firefighters, the crash teams help to divert traffic, clean up hazardous materials from an accident, and clean up the roads sooner by coordinating with emergency responders. The program originated on I-95 in Broward where the time it took to clear up a major crash dropped from an average of 73 minutes in 2005 to 56 minutes in 2009. The severe incident responders are now available on other interstates and express lanes in the area as well as in Palm Beach County to help clear accidents faster on the highway in order to get traffic moving again in a quick and safe manner.


On the final day of the 2012 legislative session, the Hawaii House of Representatives passed its state budget including $1.0 million for the Freeway Service Patrol on Oahu. The House Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro noted the budget for the Freeway Service Patrol which starts at Fort Weaver Road and will extend coverage to Ainakoa Street as one of the top 10 reasons to pass the supplemental state budget.


The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) announced earlier this month that its Safety Service Patrol will be returning for the summer season on I-95 from the Massachusetts border to Exit 7 during morning and evening commute hours. Last year the NHDOT’s Bureau of Turnpikes initiated a three-month pilot project for the program and its success has resulted in this year’s continuation of the program.

New Jersey DOT Deputy Commissioner Joseph W. Mrozek speaks at the SSP Sponsorship Press Launch Event


On April 4, 2012, the New Jersey Department of Transportation held a press event to announce a new public-private partnership with State Farm Insurance as sponsor of the DOT’s Safety Service Patrol program. New Jersey is the tenth state to embrace sponsorship of an SSP program, following Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, Maryland, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts and Colorado. Similar to other sponsorship programs, State Farm will receive recognition on SSP vehicles, informative highway signage, program brochures, the DOT website, program press releases and more in exchange for financial support to NJDOT that will allow the DOT to reallocate resources to other high-priority safety needs that benefit New Jersey motorists.


In February the Virginia Department of Transportation announced it would be expanding its Safety Service Patrol to cover the Richmond metro area beginning on March 5. Widely used in northern Virginia, Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads, the VDOT SSP will now include parts of Interstates 95, 64 and 295. Specific operation hours and patrol routes were identified based on traffic volume, number of accidents and input from the Virginia State Police and local emergency responders who most recently were the main contacts in the area for roadway incidents. Modifications to these identified patrol routes and coverage hours may occur in order to accommodate heavy travel seasons. The new SSP will cost $2 million per year. VDOT commissioner Greg Whirley stated, “The savings in terms of traffic delays and fuel consumption far outweigh the cost to run the program.” A 2007 study by VDOT’s research division on the Hampton area service patrol actually showed that the savings generated by this service were nearly 5 times the cost of having the service.

Back to Safe Highway Matters: Spring 2012


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