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News & Notes Summer 2010

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 Summer 2010


The District Six Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Team has added an awards section on that recognizes Road Ranger Service Patrol Operators.

Congratulations to Mark McBride, Florida Road Ranger, for his heroic act of returning a lost bag containing $8,000 in cash, credit cards and other personal belongings to its owner after finding it while clearing debris from the highway. The police connected McBride’s discovery with a report of a bag being stolen earlier that day.

The Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise has taken its next step in its continued effort of enhancing its Safety Patrol fleet by adding an Incident Response Truck (IRT), with the goal of improving on-scene incident response and clearance. The IRT provides additional emergency traffic control capability at incidents, enhanced spill cleanup capabilities and better tools for clearing vehicles from travel lanes.FTE Truck

The Safety Patrol IRT operator is trained in traffic incident management, quick clearance operations, emergency traffic control, vehicle fluid spill mitigation, and related techniques. The new IRT began patrolling on June 18 in northern Miami-Dade County and will respond as needed to any major incidents on Florida’s Turnpike or the Sawgrass Expressway in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The IRT is equipped with a Dynamic Message Sign, providing the ability to display incident messages to approaching motorists. With a GVWR of 16,000 pounds, the IRT is a more robust vehicle than a pickup and better able to relocate disabled or crash vehicles from travel lanes. Its high profile utility truck body allows more storage of supplies and equipment with better weather protection, plus it carries some basic vehicle fluid spill mitigation materials beyond the capabilities of pickups.

Florida’s Turnpike Safety Patrol fleet will also begin proactive use of the “Emergency Scene Ahead” signage on its roadways to better inform motorists. The shoulder placed signs will be used in coordination with the Turnpike’s ITS devices with the goal of reducing secondary crashes.


On June 17, Hawaii DOT’s Freeway Service Patrol celebrated its completion of the first year of the two-year pilot program. At the same time, Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona announced that the patrol would expand its coverage area into Leeward and Central Oahu. The expansion will come at no additional cost to taxpayers and no reduction in service.


The Treasure Valley Incident Response Team in Idaho started 12 years ago and has since responded to more than 100,000 incidents on the Connector (I-184) and on I-84 between Nampa and east Boise. 2009 proved to be its busiest year to date with a total of 11,100 assists!


On July 1, 2010 two press events were held to announce the reinstatement of the Kansas Turnpike Authority patrol, State Farm Safety Assist, which will consist of three cars that travel the turnpike from Topeka to Kansas City. The Safety Assist program, originally started in 2000, was discontinued due to the downturn in the economy.


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), who aims to be recognized as a leader in promoting highway responder safety,  recently took the initiative and adopted retro reflective red and yellow chevrons to the rear of the State Farm Safety Patrol units in an effort to enhance the emergency vehicles’ visibility and conspicuity. The PTC used the guidelines provided by the 2009 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Emergency Vehicle Visibility and Conspicuity Study.


The Dallas Courtesy Patrol was featured on multiple news stations this past quarter as part of a safety message to drivers about summer heat and help on the roadways. Officer Mark Taylor said that requests for help during summer months are already skyrocketing. Taylor and the other 50 courtesy agents carry bottled water in their trucks to help the residents in distress.


The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced the addition of a Safety Service now available to motorists traveling the Dulles Toll Road and the Dulles Airport Access Highway. The SSP will be available Mon-Fri from 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m.-5 p.m and will offer a number of free services to stranded motorists.

Back to Safe Highway Matters: Summer 2010

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