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Program to help drivers with freeway incidents launches in Ingham and Eaton counties

The photo shows a red and white van parked on the side of a road. The van is a safety service patrol van, as indicated by the text "538 MDOT SAFETY SERVICE PATROL drive" on the side of the van.  The vehicle is parked in a grassy area, and there are trees and shrubs in the background.
Michigan Department of Transportation
The Safety Service Patrol was created in 1994 to assist motorists and first responders with any type of traffic incident.

A program meant to help drivers dealing with incidents on the highway is being rolled out to mid-Michigan August 1.

The Safety Service Patrol is equipped to help drivers on the freeway who have a flat tire, run out of gas or get into a car accident. The free program was first started in the Detroit area in the early 1990s and later expanded to Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

Aaron Jenkins is a spokesperson with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

He says the patrol will now monitor the freeways surrounding Ingham and Eaton counties.

“We’ll have two drivers on duty from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and one driver will patrol on weekends when there's special events going on like MSU home football games," he said.

He says the Safety Service Patrol cannot be directly called by individual drivers; instead, the patrol collaborates with first responders and highway monitors to send help to drivers in need.

“It's a red and white van equipped with emergency lights," he said. "In addition to that, they have gas cans, air compressors, red traffic cones and then brooms, to sweep up any kind of debris or row anything that's on the road that could get in the way of other drivers."

Jenkins says the patrol service makes an average of 2,800 stops per month.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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