(February 15, 2022) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) today announced a new partnership with GEICO to sponsor the MDOT SHA Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) Emergency Patrol program. The support from GEICO comes at a time when winter weather has continued to place an increased demand on Emergency Patrol services needed to keep roadways clear and safe during winter storms.

“MDOT SHA is a national leader when it comes to incident response and assisting disabled motorists to keep our roadways safe and traffic flowing,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. “We will continue that same great customer experience through our partnership with GEICO.”

With traffic volumes exceeding pre-pandemic levels in some areas in the state, services rendered by the MDOT SHA Emergency Patrol sponsored by GEICO are crucial in helping to save lives on Maryland highways. Despite shifts in commute times stemming from extended work-from-home patterns, speeds and crashes are up in Maryland and across the nation, and the need for emergency patrols is now more important than ever.

“This time of year certainly reminds us of the importance of state safety patrols and those hardworking individuals around the country and state of Maryland who help keep roadways safe,” said Don Robinson, GEICO Vice President. “GEICO has always focused on being there when people need us. Through sponsorship of the Emergency Patrol, GEICO continues its commitment to safety by supporting the Maryland Department of Transportation.”

MDOT and GEICO encourage motorists to drive safely every day, particularly during winter weather. When a snow emergency is declared, avoid driving or allow extra time for travel, and if possible, pack a winter driving survival kit. If motorists find themselves stranded, they should dial 911 in an emergency or dial #77 for roadside assistance.

MDOT SHA’s CHART Emergency Patrol, sponsored by GEICO, actively patrols to help stranded motorists in the Baltimore, National Capital, Eastern and Western regions. The patrol is available to help keep drivers safe by jump-starting cars, changing flat tires, removing debris from the road, making small safety repairs, and providing transportation to safe areas in the event of a breakdown or other incident. The patrols also provide incident and traffic management and emergency/weather response.

Stranded motorists are often relieved when CHART Emergency Response Technicians (ERTs) respond to their needs, seemingly out of the blue. In a recent survey a motorist described assistance from the MDOT SHA Emergency Patrol, writing:
“Maryland DOT SHA driver Brian showed up almost immediately. He changed our flat tire and got us safely back on the road ASAP! It was a true rescue, and we were very grateful! I was more grateful to learn that the service was FREE!!! Thank You!”

Approximately 113,000 traffic crashes occur annually in Maryland. For every minute that a lane is closed due to a crash, disabled vehicle, or debris in the roadway during peak morning and afternoon drives times, it takes four minutes for the traffic to recover. MDOT SHA’s CHART Emergency Patrol responds to an average of 60,000 incidents every year, helping keep the more than 27,000 lane miles maintained by MDOT SHA open and available for drivers.

Clearing crashes quickly also improves safety on Maryland roads. For each minute a lane is closed during peak hours, the chance of a secondary crash increases by 2.8%. If a lane is blocked for 36 minutes, a secondary crash is likely. It is estimated that the CHART program response to highway incidents prevents, on average, 900 crashes per year.

Facts about the CHART Emergency Patrols:

  • CHART ERTs assist a motorist every 14 minutes (average)
  • CHART ERTs manages traffic at a crash/incident once every 22 minutes
  • This prevents an estimated 225-250 secondary crashes each year
  • This also saves drivers approximately $1 billion annually in fuel and delay costs

A member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, GEICO is a stable company that was founded 85 years ago, and consistently works to make driving safer for all travelers. More information can be found at Safetypatrolinfo.com. GEICO Living is also a great source for auto safety-related articles and tips. Assisted motorists are encouraged to share about the help they received by posting to social media. Motorists will be able to tag the patrols using #GEICOSafetyPatrol.

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