Motorist Assistance coming back to Richmond interstates

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Next time you get a flat tire on the interstate, there could be someone there to help.

VDOT is bringing back its safety service trucks in the Richmond area early next year.

These service trucks were cut out of the state budget two years ago.

Patrols along I-95 in the Fredericksburg area started back up right before Thanksgiving. Now these trucks will be back in Richmond in February.

Steve Hester worked as a tow truck driver for twenty years. Now he has a new job. He drives a safety service truck for VDOT. Often, Steve becomes the helping hand for many people stuck on the side of the road.

"A lot of times we're out there in 5 minutes when somebody breaks down," Hester said.  "They can't believe we're out there already."

He spends much of his day patrolling Interstate 95 from Caroline county up to Quantico. He looks for stranded motorists.

"We're out there actually searching for people," he said.  "We usually have a lot better response time."

Kelly Hannon with VDOT says these service trucks help keep traffic moving on the often-congested interstates.

"The objective is to move individuals that might cause congestion or rubber-necking delays, help them get the help they need so that everyone can continue on their way," Hannon said.

Right now in Fredericksburg, these service trucks run from two in the morning until ten in the evening. Soon they'll be in Richmond 24/7, 365 days a year.

Steve was able to get a stranded driver we saw back on the road in less than fifteen minutes. He says so far, this is what he likes about his new job.

"When you pull up and can take care of that situation right away and get them on the road and have them going away with a good, warm feeling, that's the most fulfilling thing to me," Hester said.

If you run into a problem on the road and need some help, you can call #77.

You should still call 911 if you've been in an accident.

These trucks are also patrolling the interstates in Northern Virginia and near Hampton Roads.

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