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New HELP truck available for car troubles on central NY highways

Ellen Abbott
New York State’s HELP Roadside Service is now available in central New York to offers emergency local road service for minor automotive emergencies like flat tires.";

There’s a new way for disabled motorists to get help on a couple of major interstate highways in Onondaga County. 

The State Department of Transportation has expanded the HELP Roadside Service to central New York. Assistant DOT Commissioner Sean Hennessey says the emergency local service has started patrolling a 70-mile stretch of Interstate’s 81 and 690 during morning and evening rush hour.

"If somebody breaks down, maybe a flat tire, a bad battery, or a number of minor issues when it comes to mechanical issues, we’ll be able to address those on site," Hennessey said. "Basically what people do is call 911. Use that resource that we all know. Call 911. But we will also be patrolling the area."

Hennessey says the free service is aimed at getting disabled vehicles off the road more quickly, as well as reducing congestion by alerting the traveling public there’s a problem.

"Rubbernecking is a very, very unsafe situation," he said. "So it gives people notice that there’s something up ahead.”

There are two trucks patrolling every day, with another back-up truck available as part of the free service that’s made possible by a public-private partnership.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.