Iowa DOT uses social media to update drivers on road condtions

The Iowa Department of Transportation

is using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep drivers safe.

This week's brief winter storm gave the agency a great opportunity to roll out this

new program.

Drivers were asked to send messages to the department describing hazardous road conditions as the storm moved in.

The messages were then reviewed.

Crews were dispatched if an area needed immediate attention.

Iowa State Maintenance Engineer Bob Younie says using social media will increase response time in emergency situations.

"If there's something we ought to know or do in real time, we think that social media is a way to gather that information and be able to respond to it much quicker than we would have been able to in the past," he said.

Younie says that the agency is very pleased with the response to the program from both professional and every day drivers this week.