In an effort to decrease traffic congestion and non-emergency phone calls to 911 while increasing motorist safety, 511 now offers a new option – Freeway Assist – which puts the power of a roadside call box in your cell phone.
How Do I Get Help?
Using the new Freeway Assist program, motorists on a freeway with a non-emergency situation (flat tire, car stalled, out of gas, etc.) can dial 511 on their cell phones, and once connected, say "Freeway Assist." The call will be transferred to the current call answering center that answers roadside call boxes, which will then determine the location of the motorist, and then provide appropriate roadside assistance services.
Who Will Help Me?
Services such as the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) operate during peak commute hours (M-F 6am-10am and 3pm-7pm) and will provide free roadside assistance such as changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, or providing a free tow off the highway. During non-FSP hours, the motorist can obtain aid from the Rotational Tow Program through the CHP, which offers standard rates. On regional bridges and tunnels, the call will be dispatched to Caltrans. In this way, 511 Freeway Assist links the three agencies – MTC, CHP, and Caltrans - with a program to rapidly deploy appropriate roadside services and get motorists moving again as soon as possible.
When Should I Call 911?
511 Freeway Assist provides only non-emergency roadside assistance. Visit the California Highway Patrol's site for information about when to call 911.
More About Freeway Assist
Freeway Assist was born out of the decreasing use of yellow roadside call boxes due to the influx of personal cell phones. Now, however, Freeway Assist successfully merges the FSP and call box programs through 511 to maximize the benefits of all three programs. With 511 Freeway Assist, motorists on regional freeways can more rapidly access and summon non-emergency services, while at the same time decreasing inappropriate calls to 911.
The California Highway Patrol is responsible for traffic safety and saving lives on the road. Caltrans owns and operates the state highway system. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.