COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Freeway Safety Patrol is getting a new look as GEICO becomes the new sponsor of the free service. The additional support from GEICO comes at the peak of the busy summer driving season when there is increased demand on Safety Patrol services needed to keep roadways clear and safe.
“The goal of the ODOT Freeway Safety Patrol is to quickly and safely reopen lanes of travel on our highways and get stranded motorists to a safe location where they can get additional help. We appreciate GEICO’s partnership in this program,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.
The summer months see an increase of as much as 14% for incidents cleared by the patrol and the services rendered by the ODOT Safety Patrol, sponsored by GEICO, are crucial in helping to save lives on Ohio highways. Despite extended work-from-home patterns causing shifts in commute times, speeds and crashes are up and the need for the ODOT Safety Patrol, sponsored by GEICO, is more critical than ever.
“GEICO is proud of this new partnership with the ODOT Safety Patrol – GEICO has a long history of promoting driver safety and this opportunity helps us contribute to making the state’s highways safer for everyone,” said GEICO Regional Vice President Yvonne Obeng-Curwood. “Drivers can also do their part – by putting that phone down and driving alert, not distracted.”
The ODOT Safety Patrol, sponsored by GEICO, is one of the largest in the country, covering the state’s largest metro areas: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo. Official highway signs informing motorists of the patrolled routes will now feature the GEICO logo.
The Safety Patrol is an integral part of the state’s incident management program, responding to over 60,000 incidents annually. Assistance is free to all motorists in service areas and is available 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Safety Patrol trucks are often the first to arrive at a traffic incident and also provide an array of services to stranded motorists that include changing flat tires, providing jump starts, adding coolant and fuel, and removing disabled vehicles and debris from the roadway. Plus, the patrols provide emergency/incident response and can help with small safety repairs.
Stranded motorists are relieved when the Safety Patrol arrives on scene, seemingly out of the blue.
“I had never been in more than a parking lot fender bender before, so when I was in a highway accident last week, I was shaken to the core. Literally shaking. Jeff from ODOT appeared and helped me get calm, gather my wits, and guided me off the road to be safely away from the cars zooming by all around us. His communication was clear and kind, and enabled me to recompose myself after such a shock. I have never met a more kind soul on the road in my life. My positive view of ODOT is through the roof knowing this is the type of professional and intelligent people they hire for the road. Thank you so much, Jeff!,” wrote one motorist assisted by the service.
The service provides a multitude of additional benefits including reducing wasted fuel and pollution by alleviating congestion, which helps the environment. Moreover, sponsorship allows for Safety Patrol program improvements and the incorporation of innovative technologies to increase safety, such as a recent introduction of an improved front end clearing blade that hydraulically raises and lowers with in-cab operator actions. The new blade is rated for contact with debris of up to 150 pounds, and the equipment keeps patrol operators out of harm’s way from other highway vehicles, allowing them to avoid inclement weather when quickly and safely removing debris from highway lanes and the roadside.
More information about the ODOT Safety Patrol, sponsored by GEICO, can be found at SafetyPatrolinfo.com and the ODOT website. Assisted motorists are encouraged to share about the help they received by posting to social media using #GEICOSafetyPatrol.