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Quick Clearance Act keeping roadways safe as concern grows for black ice

North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to 444 collisions and nearly 1,000 calls for service on Sunday.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — There are concerns of black ice with the low temperatures Monday night following the winter storm. The state continues its efforts to keep roadways safe with a special measure in place that helps with the cleanup efforts.

The winter storm kept tow truck companies like Hunter Auto and Wrecker Service in Charlotte pretty busy. James Draffin is a tow truck operator for the company.

“Nobody expected for the storm to come because we don’t get that much bad weather here in Charlotte but when it came it really hit,” Draffin said.

He said Hunter responded to double their usual calls over the weekend.

“Seeing a lot of cars on highways and in ditches," he said. "You know a lot of accidents so it was bad."

North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to 444 collisions and nearly 1,000 calls for service on Sunday. Master Trooper Raymond Pierce said icy roads were a big problem.

“Mainly on the off and on-ramps were our worse spots and the overpasses,” he said.

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Pierce said typically disabled cars can stay on the interstate shoulder for a grace period of 48 hours before being towed. However, when there is extremely bad weather, disabled cars create a hazard. That is where the Quick Clearance Act comes into play. It was signed into law back in April of 2003.

 “We will put this bill or put this act into effect prior to the snow coming to remove vehicles off the shoulder of the roadway," Pierce said. "That's so they are not damaged by snowplows or they don't prevent emergency vehicles from getting to one location to [another]."

Tow truck companies have to meet certain state requirements to be added on the rotation and used for service.

“Once they get on that rotation, then they're available for calls in the Mecklenburg County area,” Pierce said.

The highway patrol or CMPD will let them know that Hunter has this car because all of the companies have zones,” Draffin said.

The Quick Clearance Act is in effect until noon, Tuesday, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.