HELP Program

Transportation Management Center
6603 Centennial Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37243

HELP Program Logo

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) operates HELP trucks on Tennessee's most heavily traveled highways in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. The program began in 1999 for the purpose of reducing traffic congestion, improving safety, and assisting motorists in distress. HELP’s mission statement was developed by the first class of HELP trainees.

The mission of HELP is to minimize traffic congestion, promote the safe movement of people and products, and improve the travel environment. We work in partnership with emergency response agencies and other TDOT units as part of a highway incident management team. We are committed to performing all our duties in a professional manner.

Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of the HELP teams, TDOT believes that the mission is being accomplished. TDOT is very proud of each and every HELP team member and of all the men and women in our region, district and county offices who work hard to make all our highways safer and less congested.

Each year, TDOT managers submit employees who have gone above and beyond during the course of their duties to save a life.  The Commissioner honors these employees with the TDOT LifeSaver's Award.  HELP Operators are often recipients of this award and we would like to say thank you to them and highlight their achievements.

TDOT LifeSaver Award Recipients 2022


On Saturday, 12/18/2021 Hawken Wingate (left) and John Troup (right) responded to an incident involving a vehicle that had crashed into a barrier wall.  On their arrival they found a person lying face down with a complete amputation of the leg just below the knee.  A bystander had applied a makeshift tourniquet just above the knee, but it wasn't effective.  Hawken and John applied a second tourniquet that stopped the bleeding and then bandaged the wound.  Emergency responders from the Nashville Fire Department have credited them with saving the victim's life.


On December 8, 2021, while on patrol in Hamilton County on I-75 southbound around Mile Marker 2, David Peace (left) witnessed a truck traveling in Lane 1 suddenly veer to the right across all 4 travel lanes and into the grass shoulder.  The truck recovered, returning to the interstate then swerved right again crashing into a guardrail.  David stopped and as he approached the vehicle the motorist had a seizure and stopped breathing.  By this time, Mike Melasecca (right) had arrived on scene.  Both David and Mike removed the driver from the vehicle.  They started CPR until the driver started to shallow breathe.  A Chattanooga Police Department officer arrived on scene and administered NARCAN while the HELP Operators continued to care for the driver until the Chattanooga Fire Department arrived.


On January 11, 2022, at around 4 pm Nick Rozek and Larry Fowler were responding to an incident in Hamilton County.  While enroute Nick Rozek (right) came uponn a second rollover crash on I-75 southbound at the 3.4 Mile Marker.  The driver of the vehicle had a serious hand wound from the car roof landing on top of it.  Nick radioed Larry Fowler (left) that a tourniquet was needed.  Larry arrived on scene and Nick applied the tourniquet.  Both operators applied dressings around the wound and cared for the patient until EMS arrived.


October 22, 2022 at 13:53 Matthew Tipton  was dispatched to a black Ford truck, I-40 East, just past the exit to Strawberry Plains.  Upon his arrival he noticed the driver slumped over the wheel and notified dispatch to call 911.  Matthew knocked on the dorr, trying to wake the driver but he was unresponsive.  Matthew then proceeded to the driver side and opened the door to check his pulse, which was faint.  Matthew also noticed the man was struggling to breathe and his lips were turning blue.  At this point, he proceeded to notify dispatch of the situation and that he was removing him from the truck to start CPR.  He continued to perform solo CPR and breathing for 10 minutes until the Knoxville Fire Department arrived.  The paramedics were able to administer NARCAN and get the individual to respond.