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Motorist Aid Services

SANDAG administers three Motorist Aid Services - the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP), the Call Box Program, and the regional 511 traveler information service - and contributes to a regional helicopter program. This suite of services aids distressed motorists and helps remove stranded vehicles on the region’s most congested freeways, which in turn improves highway safety, reduces traffic congestion, and minimizes idle vehicle emissions.

In October 2017, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved a plan to right-size the call box network and enhance operations of motorist aid services. The two-year implementation plan will increase service hours for the FSP, promote awareness of the free roadside assistance available through the mobile 511 program, and remove underused call boxes throughout the region. Several factors were considered to determine which call boxes to remove, including availability of cell phone coverage, whether the FSP covers the area, and safety for stranded motorists.

Freeway Service Patrol

The San Diego region’s Freeway Service Patrol’s fleet of 23 tow trucks and 2 pickup trucks patrols 230 miles of urban highways during peak commute periods. Drivers can assist stranded motorists with a gallon of gas, provide a jump-start, supply radiator water, and even change a flat tire, all at no charge. If the FSP driver can’t get the vehicle running within a few minutes, they will tow the stranded vehicle to a safe, pre-determined location designated by the California Highway Patrol.

Since the FSP fleet continuously roves the region’s highways to proactively search for motorists in need, FSP drivers are frequently the first to arrive on the scene of an accident or broken-down vehicle. In FY 2017, FSP drivers responded to stranded motorists in less than nine minutes, on average. Getting these stranded motorists back on the road and disabled vehicles off the freeway helps to improve motorist safety and keeps traffic in the San Diego region moving.

This free service is provided by SANDAG, Caltrans, and the California Highway Patrol, and assisted more than 83,000 motorists in fiscal year 2017.

For help on the highway, call 511 and say “Roadside Assistance.” For the service area map and current operating hours, visit

Call Box Program

The free Call Box Program is designed to help travelers who experience vehicle problems on rural highways. Call boxes are self-contained, solar-powered cellular telephones with voice communication to a call center. Motorists are connected with the appropriate roadside assistance such as the Freeway Service Patrol, the caller’s roadside assistance provider, or the California Highway Patrol. The call center can even help stranded motorists get in touch with local friends and family to assist them. Distressed motorists can reach the same service from anywhere in San Diego County by calling 511 from their cell phone and saying “Roadside Assistance.”

Call boxes are located throughout the rural state highways in the San Diego region.

To learn more about SANDAG Motorist Aid Services, visit

Project Manager

Aaron Moreno, Senior Business Analyst
Phone: (619) 710-4052, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or