Information for the News Media
Public Information Office
February 3, 2003
DPS Clarifies Roadside Assistance Hotline
The public needs to be aware that an erroneous e-mail is being circulated about the Texas Department of Public Safety Roadside Assistance Hotline.
The toll-free line has been operated by DPS since 1989 for motorists to use when reporting non-life-threatening situations on Texas roads and highways. DPS then passes the information along to the appropriate local police agency or DPS office.
If a tow truck is ultimately dispatched, the motorist is responsible for any costs incurred. Some cities and agencies do have courtesy patrols and roadside trucks to provide non-towing services and they may be dispatched by the local agencies when appropriate. These two points are misrepresented in the widely-circulated e-mail that has led to an increase in inquiries to the Roadside Assistance Hotline.
The number, 1-800-525-5555, is printed on the back of virtually all Texas driver licenses and identification cards. Customers of participating wireless companies¾ALLTEL, Nextel, Cingular Wireless, Houston Cellular and Verizon Wireless¾can dial *DPS (*377) free of airtime charges anywhere in Texas.
Examples of when a motorist should call the Roadside Assistance Hotline include: stranded with car problems, hazardous road conditions, debris in the roadway, suspicious activity at a rest area, and obviously intoxicated or dangerous drivers.
The Roadside Assistance Hotline is not intended to replace 911 as an emergency number; 911 should still be the first option for emergency situations.
To better assist our communications operators please have the following information ready:
· Your name, cell phone number (and vehicle description if applicable);
· Highway location (mile marker would be helpful); and
· County location, or city location if inside city limits.