March 31, 2023

Cell phones do have practical uses on the highway—emergencies. Most people know to call “911” to summon medical, fire or law enforcement officials in serious emergencies. We should also use it to report hazards on freeway travel lanes.

However, if your car simply breaks down, you can walk to the nearest call box, or dial “#399” on your cell phone. This new number went into service in 2005 to assist freeway motorists with non-emergency roadside difficulties.

#399 calls are referred to the California Freeway Service Patrol. FSP assists more than 600,000 stranded motorists per year. Their goal is to quickly repair or remove disabled vehicles to relieve freeway congestion.

FSP is a joint venture between Caltrans, California Highway Patrol, and ten local jurisdictions throughout the state. FSP tow trucks patrol in excess of 1,400 miles of California freeways.

They offer the following services free of charge:

  • Changing flat tires
  • Jump-starting cars
  • Refilling radiators and taping leaky hoses
  • Putting a gallon of fuel in gas tanks
  • If the FSP cannot get the car running within ten minutes, it will tow the car absolutely free of charge, to a safe drop location off the freeway.


FSP will not:

  • Recommend a private mechanic
  • Accept any payment or tips for assistance
  • Tow a vehicle to a private residence or repair facility
  • Tow motorcycles, trucks or heavy vehicles
  • Assist vehicles involved in accidents unless directed by CHP (They will however, report accidents immediately to CHP)

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