Safety Service Patrol celebrates 20th anniversary
Program reduces congestion and increases mobility on our roads
(Trenton) - New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Safety Service Patrol (SSP) assisting motorists and improving mobility on the state’s highways.
Created in 1994, the SSP assists motorists whose vehicles have become disabled as a result of a crash, a mechanical failure or other cause, and provide safety for emergency responders. They patrol 225 linear miles of interstate and state highways throughout New Jersey.
“The SSP provides an essential service to troubled motorists on many of our roads and highways,” NJDOT Commissioner Jamie Fox said. “The aid to motorists is a positive byproduct of the program’s real charge – to increase mobility on our roads. By assisting motorists, the SSP helps avoid accidents involving stranded cars and reduces rubbernecking.”
This highly visible and successful program assists nearly 70,000 customers annually. Assistance includes changing a flat tire, pushing a disabled vehicle off to the shoulder, pulling a vehicle trapped in mud or snow back onto the road, providing a small amount of gasoline and making minor repairs.
The service is provided free of charge and SSP drivers cannot accept tips. In addition to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding, State Farm® has sponsored NJDOT's Safety Service Patrol Program since 2012 as part of a public-private partnership. This sponsorship is one of the first of its kind in New Jersey.
“We are fortunate to have incredibly dedicated, hardworking drivers who put their lives on the line to help motorists,” Assistant Commissioner for Transportation Systems Management Dennis Motiani said. “They’re out there in the worst of climates without thinking about the heat or the cold. Often, they’ll change tires on the side of the icy roads as cars pass mere feet from them. We’ve had our SSP drivers referred to as ‘angels’ and ‘heroes’. They’ve given shelter to drivers with small children stranded in the cold and calmed a bus full of students stuck on the side of the road.”
In recent years, the NJDOT has decreased the time it takes to clear an incident from two and a half hours to 45 minutes, but in areas that are serviced by the SSP the times are even less. SSP trucks are equipped with electronic message signs that help enforce the state’s ‘Move Over’ law, which requires motorists to move into the next lane allowing law enforcement and emergency vehicles more room. These signs remind motorists to ‘slow down and move over.’
“The SSP has been utilized proactively during special events like last year’s Super Bowl,” Motiani said. “We expanded the patrol areas to roads impacted by Super Bowl traffic to help reduce congestion. The program also received acclaim from the towns around the Pulaski Skyway where the SSP has been utilized to ease the impact of the ongoing construction.”
For more information about the Safety Service Patrol, please visit: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/