SCREVEN COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Free roadside assistance is set to expand in Georgia’s Coastal Empire. The Coordinated Highway Assistance Program (CHAMP) now covers virtually every stretch of interstate highway in the Peach State, including I-95 and Interstate 16. The program is an integral part of Georgia’s Department of Transportation’s effort to provide safe and maintained roadways. CHAMP also supports emergency responders and to assist motorists who have car trouble on the interstate. Brian Purvis, Senior Traffic Operations Engineer overseeing training for the program shares what motorists who call can expect. clearing the travel lanes so we do ask that motors move there, especially in minor incident to the shoulder of the road way or out of the flow of the traveling public. We can provide fuel in a small amount to get you to the nearest interchange where you can get gas. We can change tires obviously, I am remove debris, jump a battery if it cocks out on you. We can provide minor vehicle maintenance to help get the car back into the flow of traffic safely and if you can’t we can help with the coordination of law-enforcement and towing.” said Purvis.
CHAMP has 48 full-time operators and customized trucks, patrols on 16 interstate routes in Georgia, and they work 16 hours a day, with on-call hours the remaining hours, 7 days a week. Purvis says the program expansion could mean even more operators for I-95 and Interstate 16. Anyone can apply for the position, but there are some who are better suited for the position than others. “Retired military, retired law-enforcement, people with a fire, rescue, towing background, are, we really are looking for people that have knowledge of dealing with traffic first hand, and dealing with the impacts, especially on a high speed corridor like I – 95.” Purvis said.
The coordinator for the Coastal Area Traffic Enforcement Network, William Hires, who oversees more than a dozen counties in southeast Georgia, hosted a meeting of police officers in Wayne County Monday morning. Hires brought in Purvis to bring the officers up to speed about how CHAMP is in their corner when it comes to crashes and safety on the interstates. “Well it will help them by The CHAMP folks are out there to assist motorist to get them off or to the side of the road because they are a hazard when they are sitting out there waiting on someone, somebody to come get them. If it’s a large crash it will help in assisting with their message boards telling folks there’s a crash ahead.” Hires said, adding that clearing minor crashes quickly, with the help of CHAMP, can prevent more major accidents. “We had a major crash where three people got killed in that crash and that crashes because of a comment of a less severe crash.” Hires recalled.
Hires says the CHAMP program can’t knock out the problems leading to crashes, injuries, and fatalities on the interstate highway system in Georgia all alone. He says the public is a vital partner in this effort because the bottom line is safety. “We need the motoring public help we can’t, we can’t reduce these traffic accident by ourself. We need to get the motoring public to buy what we are selling and what we’re selling is traffic safety.” said Hires.