Orange County Transportation Authority

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  • Freeway Service Patrol

  • Your friend on the freeways

    Orange County freeways can be stressful in the best of times, but add traffic and a mechanical problem and you could be in dire need of assistance–and a friendly face. Which is where the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) steps in. We’re a special team of tow trucks that travel Orange County’s freeways during peak commuting hours to help motorists with disabled vehicles. Our job is to keep the freeways moving and reduce congestion by quickly removing disabled vehicles.

    Best of all, FSP services are free to motorists. From a jump start to a gallon of gas, or simply changing a flat tire, our trucks and drivers help people get back on the road. They'll even help take vehicles to a safe location off the freeway without charge.

    The FSP program began in 1992 in cooperation with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The Orange County Transportation Authority manages the program and the CHP provides dispatch, oversees operation of the contracted tow companies, and provides field services whenever law enforcement is required.

  • Monday through Friday: 

    6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

    3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (major congested interchanges and adjacent freeways)

    Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. South I-5 only
    The FSP does not operate on major holidays.


    Download Map - Available Time of Services

    It is always good to know what to do while waiting for help to arrive. Here are some safety basics recommended by the California Highway Patrol:

    1. If you can, move your vehicle onto the right shoulder out of traffic lanes.
    2. If involved in a traffic collision, move your vehicle to a safe location if possible before exchanging insurance information.
    3. Stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt on until help arrives. If you must exit the vehicle, stay as far away from the roadway as possible.
    4. Use added caution in bad weather since a passing motorist could lose control of their vehicle

    3.19.16

    I was heading inland from the coast during heavy traffic conditions. Was moving between cars (splitting traffic) between the diamond lane and fast lane, when my motorcycle lost power. No way for me to move off the roadway, there I was stranded between lanes, and blocking the way of other motorcyclists who were also moving through traffic. Not a good situation, and bound to make a bad impact on traffic flow.

    I looked across the lanes, packed with motorists, and there, backing up on the shoulder, was a tow truck. FREEWAY SERVICE PATROL. He had pulled off when he noticed me when I back-fired and lost power. With his truck lights and a loud audio signal, he stopped traffic so I could push my motorcycle across the 4 lanes of freeway. This all occurred in under 2 minutes of my coming to a stop. The effect on traffic flow was hardly noticeable; anyone delayed was by 15 seconds, the driver had me out of harms way. He then gave me a gallon of fuel, and made sure I gat running again. He warned me to be extremely cautious and to allow him to move his truck out from ahead of me, so I could gain speed before moving into traffic flow. Through it all, he was a calming force, always with the easy smile, and an "I am here to help you, whatever it takes." As we parted, I thanked him, and tried to pay for the fuel, and give him a gratuity, and was graciously, politely refused. Very very good person you have in this man. Kind, courteous, efficient, professional, and ethical. He was so easy and matter of fact. I told him he may very well have saved my very life, getting me clear of traffic like that. He laughed it off as a "stuff happens" event, no big thing, glad I could help. WELL, TO ME IT WAS A HUGE THING! He just shook my offered hand, got into his truck, waved (*with a smile), and was gone.

    Literally, he is a life saver. I cannot even imagine the traffic nightmares avoided because he is out there, solving traffic trouble before they becomes tragic statistics.

    Paul M.

    3.18.16

    It was about 1:30 and I was on my way to a doctor's appointment, I am out in Costa Mesa when I felt my tire start to loose pressure on the southbound 55. By the time I had pulled over, it was 1:40 and I was calling Triple-A. They said that the next available tow truck couldn't get to me until 2:30. It was about 5 minutes after I hung up with Triple-A that I saw an FSP driver pulling over. At first I thought it was Triple A and was preparing to give him my information. To my surprise he wasn't and told me all about the free program for roadside assistance he was a part of. The FSP driver changed my flat tire and got me back on the road before triple-A even showed up - talk about efficiency. The FSP driver really gave my roadside experience a positive boost. He was very knowledgeable and gave me information about 511 and other OCTA programs. He went above and beyond to make sure I was taken cared of and I tip my cap to him.

    Brady B.

    3.12.16

    I was driving home from work during traffic on Friday. My battery light randomly came on and my windows became hard to close. So I got in the right lane. Then suddenly my gauges stopped working and my engine started to die. I coasted over to side of the freeway. I called a friend to come help me but it was going to take 20 minutes to find me because of the traffic. About 5 minutes later an FSP driver pulls up and helps me out. He explained very clearly that for free he would tow me off the freeway safely and help jump start my car. He was very polite and courteous. I think the reason he gets this compliment is that he spent the few minutes to explain the process and how he could help. So after we got of the freeway he jumped my car and it got me far enough to park at Autozone. I put a new battery in and made it home. The FSP driver was very good at helping me out. I really appreciate his service and the hard work he did. Please tell him thanks!

    Leticia G.

    Frequently asked questions

    Because there are always questions, here are some answers to the basic questions we hear the most.

    • What services can the Orange County FSP provide?
    • If your vehicle stops running, the FSP can help by:

      • Offering you a gallon of gas if you ran out
      • Jump start your dead battery
      • Refill your radiator and make minor hose repairs
      • Change a flat tire 
    • What if the FSP can’t get my vehicle running?

      It will be towed from the freeway free of charge to a pre-designated on-street location.

    • If my vehicle is towed to one of these locations, will the FSP help me get to a phone?

      Yes. The FSP will take you to the nearest phone so you can notify a friend, relative or auto club.

    • How will I recognize the FSP?
    • All FSP tow trucks are white with the FSP logo on the doors. Drivers wear blue uniforms and bright yellow-green safety vests with the FSP logo.

    • Are Orange County FSP drivers certified?
    • Yes. Drivers receive their certification only after completing a CHP training program.

    • Can the FSP tow me to a private repair facility?
    • No. FSP only tows vehicles to locations identified by the CHP. The FSP is not permitted to recommend other tow companies or repair facilities.

    • Which freeways do the Orange County FSP patrol?

      Check the map for FSP coverage.

    Click here for Fact Sheet

    Hours

    Monday through Friday: 

    6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

    3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (major congested interchanges and adjacent freeways)

    Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. South I-5 only
    The FSP does not operate on major holidays.

    Service Area

    Download Map - Available Time of Services

    Safety Tips

    It is always good to know what to do while waiting for help to arrive. Here are some safety basics recommended by the California Highway Patrol:

    1. If you can, move your vehicle onto the right shoulder out of traffic lanes.
    2. If involved in a traffic collision, move your vehicle to a safe location if possible before exchanging insurance information.
    3. Stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt on until help arrives. If you must exit the vehicle, stay as far away from the roadway as possible.
    4. Use added caution in bad weather since a passing motorist could lose control of their vehicle
    Customer Comments

    3.19.16

    I was heading inland from the coast during heavy traffic conditions. Was moving between cars (splitting traffic) between the diamond lane and fast lane, when my motorcycle lost power. No way for me to move off the roadway, there I was stranded between lanes, and blocking the way of other motorcyclists who were also moving through traffic. Not a good situation, and bound to make a bad impact on traffic flow.

    I looked across the lanes, packed with motorists, and there, backing up on the shoulder, was a tow truck. FREEWAY SERVICE PATROL. He had pulled off when he noticed me when I back-fired and lost power. With his truck lights and a loud audio signal, he stopped traffic so I could push my motorcycle across the 4 lanes of freeway. This all occurred in under 2 minutes of my coming to a stop. The effect on traffic flow was hardly noticeable; anyone delayed was by 15 seconds, the driver had me out of harms way. He then gave me a gallon of fuel, and made sure I gat running again. He warned me to be extremely cautious and to allow him to move his truck out from ahead of me, so I could gain speed before moving into traffic flow. Through it all, he was a calming force, always with the easy smile, and an "I am here to help you, whatever it takes." As we parted, I thanked him, and tried to pay for the fuel, and give him a gratuity, and was graciously, politely refused. Very very good person you have in this man. Kind, courteous, efficient, professional, and ethical. He was so easy and matter of fact. I told him he may very well have saved my very life, getting me clear of traffic like that. He laughed it off as a "stuff happens" event, no big thing, glad I could help. WELL, TO ME IT WAS A HUGE THING! He just shook my offered hand, got into his truck, waved (*with a smile), and was gone.

    Literally, he is a life saver. I cannot even imagine the traffic nightmares avoided because he is out there, solving traffic trouble before they becomes tragic statistics.

    Paul M.

    3.18.16

    It was about 1:30 and I was on my way to a doctor's appointment, I am out in Costa Mesa when I felt my tire start to loose pressure on the southbound 55. By the time I had pulled over, it was 1:40 and I was calling Triple-A. They said that the next available tow truck couldn't get to me until 2:30. It was about 5 minutes after I hung up with Triple-A that I saw an FSP driver pulling over. At first I thought it was Triple A and was preparing to give him my information. To my surprise he wasn't and told me all about the free program for roadside assistance he was a part of. The FSP driver changed my flat tire and got me back on the road before triple-A even showed up - talk about efficiency. The FSP driver really gave my roadside experience a positive boost. He was very knowledgeable and gave me information about 511 and other OCTA programs. He went above and beyond to make sure I was taken cared of and I tip my cap to him.

    Brady B.

    3.12.16

    I was driving home from work during traffic on Friday. My battery light randomly came on and my windows became hard to close. So I got in the right lane. Then suddenly my gauges stopped working and my engine started to die. I coasted over to side of the freeway. I called a friend to come help me but it was going to take 20 minutes to find me because of the traffic. About 5 minutes later an FSP driver pulls up and helps me out. He explained very clearly that for free he would tow me off the freeway safely and help jump start my car. He was very polite and courteous. I think the reason he gets this compliment is that he spent the few minutes to explain the process and how he could help. So after we got of the freeway he jumped my car and it got me far enough to park at Autozone. I put a new battery in and made it home. The FSP driver was very good at helping me out. I really appreciate his service and the hard work he did. Please tell him thanks!

    Leticia G.

    FAQ

    Frequently asked questions

    Because there are always questions, here are some answers to the basic questions we hear the most.

    • What services can the Orange County FSP provide?
    • If your vehicle stops running, the FSP can help by:

      • Offering you a gallon of gas if you ran out
      • Jump start your dead battery
      • Refill your radiator and make minor hose repairs
      • Change a flat tire 
    • What if the FSP can’t get my vehicle running?

      It will be towed from the freeway free of charge to a pre-designated on-street location.

    • If my vehicle is towed to one of these locations, will the FSP help me get to a phone?

      Yes. The FSP will take you to the nearest phone so you can notify a friend, relative or auto club.

    • How will I recognize the FSP?
    • All FSP tow trucks are white with the FSP logo on the doors. Drivers wear blue uniforms and bright yellow-green safety vests with the FSP logo.

    • Are Orange County FSP drivers certified?
    • Yes. Drivers receive their certification only after completing a CHP training program.

    • Can the FSP tow me to a private repair facility?
    • No. FSP only tows vehicles to locations identified by the CHP. The FSP is not permitted to recommend other tow companies or repair facilities.

    • Which freeways do the Orange County FSP patrol?

      Check the map for FSP coverage.

    Click here for Fact Sheet

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