[Editor: This is the text of a March 1, 2017, Illinois Tollway news release.]
Illinois Tollway Debuts New Look and Expanded Service for Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) Program
New H.E.L.P. Truck Tracker in development to let drivers know help is on the way
DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Drivers dialing *999 for roadway assistance on the Illinois Tollway will be served by new white and red Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) trucks beginning today as part of the Tollway’s efforts to enhance safety and service across the 292-mile system of roadways.
“The Illinois Tollway always puts its customers’ safety first and is continually looking for ways to enhance services and offer a helping hand to drivers in need,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “We remind drivers and their passengers to stay safe by remaining in their vehicles and calling *999 for assistance from our H.E.L.P. trucks.”
The updated look for the new white H.E.L.P. trucks with red identification lettering provides increased visibility on the road to enhance safety and help the Tollway service to customers stand out. Studies done by Illinois State Police have determined that white is the preferred color for police cars and first responder vehicles.
Twelve H.E.L.P. trucks patrol the Tollway system across 12 counties in Northern Illinois during weekday peak travel times Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and typically provide customers with roadside assistance within 15 minutes. In 2016, the Tollway’s H.E.L.P. trucks patrolled more than 1.2 million miles and helped more than 30,000 customers.
In addition, to improve service to customers, the Illinois Tollway is launching a new H.E.L.P. Truck Tracker to help drivers who have requested assistance to identify where the trucks are along the road and when they are headed in their direction.
The new online service is launching in beta form to help the Tollway test the service and capture customer feedback throughout the month of March. Tollway customers are invited to try out the H.E.L.P. Truck Tracker and share feedback and comments. An updated version of the H.E.L.P Truck Tracker is anticipated in April.
After calling *999 on their cell phone, customers can view the H.E.L.P. Truck Tracker on the Tollway’s website at illinoistollway.com. Once on the tracker, H.E.L.P. trucks will be identified by arrows on each of the Tollway’s roadways indicating direction of travel with a popup text box indicating roadway and nearest mile marker.
In addition, the arrows will be color coded to identify service status. Green indicates the H.E.L.P. truck is in service and available to provide assistance and red will indicate that the H.E.L.P. truck is assisting a customer.
Tollway customers can dial *999 on their cellphones to report incidents on the Illinois Tollway and request assistance. Tollway H.E.L.P. truck operators provide an array of services including changing tires, battery boosts, adding coolant, dispensing fuel, transporting customers, moving vehicles away from traffic and incidents and calling for tow truck assistance. While small fees may be charged to cover the cost of fuel and coolant, H.E.L.P. truck services provided to customers free of charge and gratuities are strictly prohibited.
The Illinois Tollway system is patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by Illinois State Police District 15 and tollway maintenance personnel are trained to provide roadway assistance to stranded Tollway customers and traffic control at roadway incident scenes when H.E.L.P trucks are not in service.
The H.E.L.P. Program is partially funded by State Farm to further the Tollway’s efforts to reduce delay and improve safety for the motoring public and highlighting State Farm’s commitment to helping people recover from the unexpected. Drivers do not need to be State Farm customers to receive service from Illinois Tollway H.E.L.P. trucks.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.
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