DOT Expanding Interstate Driver Assistance
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is expanding its driver assistance patrols to interstate between major cities. The Incident Management Assistance Patrol, or IMAP, has increased its number of yellow trucks on areas between Charlotte and Raleigh. That includes Davidson, Randolph, and Rowan Counties along I-85. IMAP directs traffic in the event of major accidents and helps with broken down vehicles to improve congestion. Sam Whittington is the Regional Instant Management Engineer for the Triad.
Sam Whittington: "When you have a major wreck, fire department puts out the fire, EMS takes care of those that are injured, law enforcement investigates the wreck, IMAP handles the traffic. That's our main piece of that pie. When there's not major wrecks, that's when we do motorist assistance. If you're sitting on the side of the road broke down, it's a ticking time bomb until something bad happens. So if we can do something to get them off the side of the road to safety, to do further repairs, or to get gas or whatever is needed, that's going to save lives and safeguard the public."
The agency says it also aims to start weekend patrols by September. The trucks are currently on the road for 16 hours a day Monday through Friday.
Whittington: "So as it was started, it was mainly in the urban areas. There's units in Greensboro, there's units in Raleigh, there's units in Charlotte. As you grow, you've still got the gaps between the cities. And that's one of the things we're trying to do is close those gaps to get continuous coverage on the interstates."