TRENTON – State officials today announced a public-private partnership with State Farm® to sponsor the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Safety Service Patrol (SSP) program.
The Department launched its patrol program in 1994 with the mission to enhance safety on New Jersey roadways and reduce traffic congestion, and last year realigned it to concentrate patrol routes in those areas that have demonstrated the greatest need for motorist assists. The realignment has created an opportunity to increase services of the SSP to seven days per week. It had previously operated weekdays only throughout the state with the exception of one small geographic area.
Through financial support provided by State Farm, NJDOT will be able to reallocate resources to other high-priority safety needs to benefit New Jersey motorists. The State Farm sponsorship will be acknowledged by NJDOT in several ways, including placing the State Farm logo on SSP trucks and on highway signs indicating patrol areas. Several of the highly reflective red-and-white SSP trucks featuring the State Farm logo were displayed today at the sponsorship announcement event.
“Safety is the top priority at NJDOT,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “We are proud to team with State Farm on this joint venture that supports the Safety Service Patrol program and which creates opportunities for NJDOT to direct funding to other high-priority safety projects that will benefit New Jersey residents.”
SSP drivers patrol 225 linear miles of interstate and state highways throughout New Jersey. They assist motorists whose vehicles have become disabled as a result of a crash, a mechanical failure or other cause, and provide safety for emergency responders. Minimizing the time a vehicle is stopped in a travel lane or along a busy roadway reduces traffic congestion and promotes safety by reducing the occurrence of secondary accidents.
SSP patrol areas include:
· In the northern part of the state, SSP trucks operate on I-80, I-78, I-280 east of I-287 and along I-287 from Edison to just north of I-80.
· In central New Jersey, SSP trucks operate in the greater Trenton area on I-95, I-295, I-195 as far east as the Turnpike interchange and on parts of Route 29.
· In southern New Jersey, SSP trucks operate in the Camden/Cherry Hill region along I-76, I-676, I-295 as far north as Mercer County and along portions of Routes 42 and 55.
State Farm, which along with its affiliates is the largest provider of auto insurance in the U.S., sees a natural connection between its mission and the function of the Department’s Safety Service Patrol program.
“Part of the mission of State Farm is to help individuals recover from the unexpected,” said State Farm Vice President-Agency, John Antonacci. “As a leading automobile insurer in the Garden State, a partnership like this supports the commitment of State Farm to automobile and driver initiatives that assist motorists traveling our roadways. The goal of the Safety Service Patrol is driver and passenger safety.”
For State Farm, the sponsorship is an extension of its safety investment not only in highway and passenger safety but also in young and teen driving initiatives that focus on distractions, skill set and the value of strict graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws.
State Farm sponsors motorist-assist patrols in seven other states including New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Indiana and Kansas.
Travelers Marketing responded to NJDOT’s November 2011 request for proposals on behalf of State Farm and was awarded the sponsorship through a competitive bid process. Under the terms of the contract, State Farm will provide NJDOT $1.8 million annually for three years, with two annual renewal options. All sponsorship funds will be used to support the SSP program, including safety equipment, reflective tape for patrol vehicles, brochures and comment cards.
The State Farm logo will appear prominently on 52 state-owned and operated SSP trucks, 120 roadside SSP signs, on the uniforms of NJDOT employees who serve as SSP drivers, on the NJDOT SSP web page and on the comment cards that drivers provide to assisted motorists.
NJDOT’s SSP program operates 16 hours per day Monday through Friday and 10 hours per day Saturdays and Sundays, providing approximately 70,000 motorist assists per year. These interactions with stranded motorists promote safety by getting them on their way as quickly or possible or protecting them until a tow truck arrives. Disabled vehicles blocking travel lanes are a prime cause of traffic congestion, so the work performed each day by SSP drivers reduces congestion and promotes mobility.
SSP assistance includes changing a flat tire, pushing a disabled vehicle off to the shoulder, pulling a vehicle stuck in mud or snow back onto the road, providing a small amount of gasoline and making minor repairs. SSP trucks are also dispatched to crash scenes and coordinates efforts with the New Jersey State Police to create safe zones for emergency responders to work within.
The SSP program operates on an annual budget of approximately $6 million. Approximately 70 NJDOT employees staff the program as drivers. There is never a charge to motorists for the services provided, and SSP drivers are prohibited from accepting tips.
“I want to join with the New Jersey Department of Transportation in welcoming State Farm’s sponsorship of the department’s Safety Service Patrol,” said Assembly Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chairman of the Assembly transportation committee. “I was proud to have sponsored the legislation that authorized this partnership and to have worked with the company to shepherd it through the Legislature.”
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!