Highway Notification Numbers

Original source: Missouri Highway Patrol, June 2000. Updated here 9/12/2008

Although 911 has been designated as the "official" number for reporting emergencies in the United States, many other numbers have been implemented for reporting highway situations: accidents, intoxicated drivers (DUIs), or disabled vehicles. In most cases, dialing these special numbers routes the call to the agency with jurisdiction over the state highways or Interstates, rather than to the local law enforcement agency.

An urban legend has circulated for many years claiming that motorists can dial #77 or *77 to reach the police, or to determine if the unmarked police car behind them is real, or .... etc. As you can see from this map, #77/*77 is not the universal number for the police. Dialing 911 is the only reliable way to connect to emergency services.

This map shows alternate telephone numbers established by the states to reach a state-level law enforcement agency to report highway situations, some of which could be considered "urgent." These numbers were generally established before the wide implementation of the 9-1-1 emergency number. The numbers also are routed to various types of agencies, some of which may not be first responders—police, fire or EMS—but rather highway departments.

Adding to the confusion, if you're traveling adjacent to a state boundary such as Virginia, Maryland and DC, dialing one of these special numbers could connect you with... well, who knows which state or agency you'd hear on the phone? That's the disadvantage of non-standard numbers, and of wireless phones whose signal can go in all directions.

Therefore, you are advised to dial 9-1-1 to report emergencies, especially from a cellular phone.

This map was originally developed by the Missouri Highway Patrol, and has been periodically updated by DISPATCH Magazine On-Line. Let us know of any errors or changes.

Some of the alternate uses for the above numbers include:

  • Nextel has a list of # and * associated numbers for highway assistance.
  • We have a report that Colorado also has the number *CSP for reaching the State Patrol from wireless phones.
  • In Kansas, motorists can dial *KTA while on the turnpike.
  • In Illinois, the number *999 number is operated jointly by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the state's DOT, and is intended for "emergencies," which the Authority defines generally as being "stranded" on the tollway.
  • On the Indiana toll-road, *11 reaches the state police
  • In Louisiana, *24 reaches the Coast Guard
  • Dialing *555 in Prince George's and Montgomery County (Md.) reaches the Park Police
  • Dialing *11 reaches Emergency Operations for the Pennsylvania Turnpike
  • Dialing *ISP in Idaho is intended to report DUI drivers.
  • Also check this U.S. DOT Web page on the 5-1-1 phone number.

Wireless 911 page / 911 page / 3-digit numbers around the world