New Number Makes Getting Help, Getting Moving, that Much Easier
For years, the DOT’s Safety Patrol has provided roadside assistance to motorists, and now you can call for help by dialing #999 from a mobile phone.
The Safety Patrol covers I-95, the Spaulding Turnpike, Everett Turnpike and I-93 from the Massachusetts border through Exit 14. Calls are received by the DOT’s Transportation Management Center, which can communicate with road crews as well as first responders to get help out to drivers. The Safety Patrol vehicles also patrol the roads, driving around looking for stranded motorists. The idea is to get those stranded motorists moving and keep traffic moving, said SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member Dave Mansur.
“You’re going around making sure nobody is broken down on the road,” said Mansur, who’s a highway patrol foreman. “You help the State Police if there’s an accident, or if somebody has run out of fuel, you give them a couple of gallons to get them moving.”
The Safety Patrol can help motorists in need of minor repairs, such as changing a tire or handling an overheating engine, but they can also clear debris that might lead to an accident or back up traffic.
“Sometimes they have to get a tow truck, but we’ll sit with them until it arrives,” Mansur said.
The Safety Patrol, which is sponsored by State Farm, responded to 3,255 incidents last year. That number will likely go up now that drivers can simply dial #999. The patrol can be hectic with that many people to help, Mansur said, but it’s also rewarding.
“Everybody that does it seems to like it, because you get to get out and meet people and help them out,” Mansur said.
The DOT reminds drivers to obey the Hands Free Law. If you’re not using a Bluetooth device, you must pull off the side of the roadway or into a parking lot or rest area, and come to a complete stop before calling #999.