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Here to help you with trouble on the roadways: The Motorist Assist Program

"This really kind of brings us in line with a lot of our other metro areas around the country that have services just like this."
Posted at 7:08 PM, Nov 01, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Flat tire, dead battery and an empty fuel tank: All things no driver wants to experience off of a busy roadway. To help drivers with issues like this, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has partnered with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) on the Motorist Assist Program, which is now in full swing in the Greater Omaha Metro.

"It's an opportunity to make sure that you know that when you're driving the Omaha roadways and the busy congestion that we have that you know that there's somebody there for you if something goes wrong," said Vicki Kramer, Director of NDOT.

Monday through Friday three trucks will patrol 86 roadway miles with a focus on I-680 and I-80 during rush hour times.

"Two of the trucks work straight from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at night. One truck is 6:00 a.m. in the morning til 9:00 a.m. and then it comes back out at 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.," said Travis Schooley, AutoBase Programs Manager.

The help is absolutely free with each truck equipped with anything drivers might need to get them to immediate safety and off the roadway. The program also assists first responders after crashes to redirect traffic.

"Everything that we're trying to do is just trying to keep people away from the event, whether it be a disabled vehicle or a motor vehicle crash," said Joe LaBella, AutoBase President.

The Omaha metro has been without this type of service since 2020 when a similar program was volunteer-run.

"And really a tragic crash in 2020 that actually killed one of the volunteers put a stop to the program, we looked for a new way, a new model and that's really what were launching here," said Mike Helgerson, executive director at Metropolitan Area Planning Agency.

Now, NDOT is bringing in a contractor, AutoBase, to help facilitate the program — training and paying workers to enhance the city's public safety mission.

"We are a very large metro without a professional service and so this really kind of brings us in line with a lot of our other metro areas around the country that have services just like this," said Helgerson.

Drivers who need help can either call *55 to reach NSP on the highway helpline or call 911 in an emergency. Motorist-assist vehicles can also find drivers during their patrols.

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