Information for the News Media
Public Information Office
(512) 424-2080

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 companiesALLTEL, Nextel, Cingular Wireless, Houston Cellular and Verizon Wirelesscan 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.