WTOC rides along with CHAMP driver

WTOC rides along with CHAMP driver

BULLOCH CO., GA (WTOC) - A program to help interstate drivers in Georgia recently celebrated its first birthday.

The Coordinated Highway Assistance and Maintenance Program for CHAMP hopes to respond to problems and keep you safe. As the CHAMP trucks patrol the interstates of Georgia, they're not only assisting after a crash, but preventing some as well.

Matt Daughtry drives all day long with stops all along the way. When he's not stopped at a crash, he's looking for potential problems, like storm drains covered in dirt.

"This kind of preventative stuff, done ahead of time, can save some heartache in the long run," Daughtry said.

The CHAMP driver not only helps stranded motorists, he also picks up enough tire tread and car parts to start a scrap yard.

"If you can get that piece of tire out of the road, keep somebody from swerving or hitting it."

He and 10 other operators cover our 25-county region. In June, they handled 3,500 accidents, stranded cars, or debris calls.

"Nobody stops on the interstate to help people anymore because you don't know who you're stopping with," Daughtry said.

Georgia is one of the first states to offer such a program on interstates in or out of big cities.

"Most of the time, you have to tell them at least twice that it's free, paid for through their taxes," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of the people are just overly thankful. Then, they just can't believe it's free."

Daughtry says every hazard he spots and clears keeps you traveling smoothly up the road.

Matt says he's glad Georgia has such a progressive program on the road.

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