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An Insider’s Look: Roadside Safety Services to the Rescue

An Insider’s Look: Roadside Safety Services to the Rescue

I wait in the truck while Chris fixes one of the vehicles we encountered. It’s too dangerous for me to get out of the truck. Note my safety vest.

Editor’s note: As a new member of NTTA’s Public Affairs team, one enterprising employee visited NTTA’s Safety Operations Center and rode along with the Roadside Safety Services crew to get an insider’s view of our safety programs. She documented her day using photographs and notes, which we’d like to share with you.

My tour begins at the Safety Operations Center. As I enter, I’m immediately wowed by nearly two dozen 70-inch video screens. There are several people monitoring the action on the screens, communicating with others in the room and on the phone.

The activity all around me resembles the inside of a bee hive.

Each screen displays a live camera feed of cars driving on our roads; the Dallas North Tollway on one, a section of the President George Bush Tollway on another. Several screens are combined into a single zoomed-in view of a crash that just happened.

The Safety Operations Center team dispatched state troopers and our own Roadside Safety Services (RSS) crew before the 911 call came in.

The drivers involved in the crash wait just minutes for help to arrive, and our crews have the road clear of debris for other drivers in less than 15 minutes. Time is critical. The odds of another crash happening increase every minute that wrecked vehicles remain on the road.

Chris’ eagle eyes monitoring the vehicle loaded behind us.

Chris, a member of the Roadside Safety Services team, will be my guide for the road portion of the tour.

Chris wears a reflective safety vest over his navy blue uniform with highly reflective stripes around the ankles of his pants. He hands me a matching safety vest – not very stylish but an important part of keeping me safe too.

Before we climb into the tow truck Chris operates, we walk around the vehicle to check the gear and supplies. (The RSS crew tows vehicles to a safe location off the road. They don’t offer long-distance towing like a typical tow service.)

Chris checks for fraying on the tow straps and gasoline in the can. (Did you know RSS will fill your car with a gallon of gas if you run out on our roads?)

After a few more checks of the lights and gear mechanisms, we head out on the road to look for people to help.

Chris is a family guy who’s worked on the RSS team at NTTA for five years. He has an easy-going personality, and you can tell he brings a lot of comfort to the people he assists.

People can be unpredictable and sometimes confused or upset after an accident. It’s Chris’ job to make sure their safety is the top priority along with caring for their vehicles.

I’m impressed when he explains how to connect the tow hook to small vehicles without damaging them. It’s that kind of customer service that shows up again and again in comments we hear from customers.

It isn’t long before we get a call to assist a motorist whose vehicle broke down. We’re heading south on the President George Bush Turnpike, and Chris asks me if I know where we are in relation to the driver in need of help.

To be honest, I’d never considered how important that is to this team. Knowing these roads, the exits and fastest route to get to people is critical.

When we reach the stranded driver, another member of the RSS team has already come to his aid.

Within minutes, the car is loaded and whisked off the road to a safe spot. I barely have time to get out and snap a few photos before we’re headed to the next call.

Within a few hours, we assisted three drivers, all incredibly thankful to Chris and the team for their help.

I think about how lucky I am to live in a Metroplex with a service like NTTA’s Roadside Safety Services.

It feels good to be part of an organization that gives so much care to the drivers who depend on our roads.

When you compare the cleanliness and smooth driving of NTTA’s toll-funded roads to non-tolled roads, it’s easy to see where the toll dollars go.

So, the next time you see an RSS truck or notice your TollTag sitting neatly below your rearview mirror, think about what it would be like without them. Our roads are not just safe, they are convenient and put significantly less wear and tear on your vehicle than non-tolled roads.

Don’t forget to pay attention when you see accidents or stranded vehicles on the road’s shoulder. Our Roadside Safety Services crew is likely on the way, and we want everyone to stay safe. Let’s do our part as drivers by being cautious as we pass Chris and the rest of the team. If you can, move to a lane away from the stranded vehicle. If that’s not possible, slow down below the speed limit.

And if you ever find yourself or see someone stranded on an NTTA road, dial #999 for help. In an emergency, always call 911.