Hanover Motorist Assist Volunteers help with car troubles, traffic

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – The Motorist Assist Volunteers will perform duties like helping stranded motorists and assisting with traffic hazards. It's all part of an effort to make Hanover roads as safe as possible.

Fred Martin shows off a fully stocked motorist assist vehicle: ready and willing to help drivers. Motorist Assist Volunteers like Fred are already getting up to 20 calls for service per day.

"We'll be helping people who run out of gas. We'll help them with flat tires. We'll help them if they have engine problems," he said.

And that's not all they do. Motorist Assist Volunteers help with traffic flow and control at crash scenes, and more importantly, free up officers who can focus more on preventing and fighting crime.

"It also gives the officers the opportunity to answer the emergency calls and also give the citizens that are in the volunteer program with motorist assist an opportunity to take care of things that don't require a sworn law enforcement officer to handle," said Barry Bland, Motorist Assist Coordinator.

The brand new program was made possible by the Citizen's Police Academy. The volunteers work in pairs and drive these well-marked explorers equipped with yellow emergency lights. They work in shifts. For the most part, they'll stay close to the busiest roads, like Routes 360, 301 and 33, but they can go anywhere in the county.

Motorist Assist Volunteers are not allowed to engage in other law enforcement activities beyond the scope of this program, but organizers hope what they can do will be a huge help to Hanover County.

"It's very nice to see that we have people that are willing to come out on their own time to train and learn how to help other people," said Bland.

"I've been fortunate in 69 years to have people help me, so now it's my turn to help somebody else," said Martin.

For more information about this program call 365-6110.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.