TIFTON, GA (WALB) - A new program is helping drivers stay safe on I-75 in Southwest Georgia, whenever they need help.
The Department of Transportation's CHAMP program, or Coordinated Highway Assistance and Maintenance Program, has been up and running for one month now.
"We can help you change a tire, we can give you gas," said CHAMP supervisor Ronnie McNorton.
Patrolmen with CHAMP watch I-75, searching for anyone and anyway they can help.
"We're looking for any kind of debris, stalled vehicles, signs down," said McNorton. "We've got two patrolmen on the day shift and two on the evening shift."
CHAMP launched in District 4 on March 20, 2017. In the month it has been up and running, the program has responded to more than 600 incidents in the district, which stretches from the Georgia-Florida state line to the Crisp County and Dooly County Line.
Drivers can call 511 to ask for help or report a problem, but patrolmen also stop if they see a car on the side of the road.
"I was driving on the interstate leaving Tifton and a piece of debris fell off a car and hit my car," said Maria Bennett.
McNorton saw Bennett's car on the side of the road, so he stopped to see what she needed.
"I saw the truck name and he introduced himself and I'm very pleased that's here in Georgia," Bennett said of CHAMP.
McNorton said the program is going great so far, and he's proud to be able to make the interstates safer for Georgians and anyone else travelling through the state.
"If you're broke down on the side of the road, it don't matter who you are or where you're from. We're going to help you," he said.
McNorton said they have heard of a couple instances of impersonation.
So, if you call 511, a CHAMP worker will arrive in a white truck and it will be marked with both the CHAMP and GDOT logos.
The worker will not send a tow truck out to you without being there themselves.
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