Timely and proactive roadside assistance can make a major difference for highway safety. That's why Wisconsin is among a number of states that organizes highway safety patrol operations to clear traffic incidents, move disabled vehicles and manage other traffic hazards.
In January 1998, WisDOT initiated the "Enhancement Freeway Patrol" in Milwaukee County. It was operated by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. Also, in June of that year, WisDOT established the "Gateway Patrol" program, which provided services along I-94 in Racine and Kenosha counties, and was operated by private towing services. In 2008, both of these programs were consolidated into one program and were renamed as the "Freeway Service Team" (FST) program. Today's programs include:
- Wisconsin DOT State Farm® Safety Patrol
- Sheriff's Freeway Service Teams (Milwaukee and Dane counties)
- Special events service teams
Wisconsin DOT State Farm® Safety Patrol
In 2017, the department teamed up with State Farm® to launch the Wisconsin DOT State Farm® Safety Patrol. The Safety Patrol offers free, limited roadside assistance to drivers in need under the common goal of enhancing safety and mobility.
Comprised of specially equipped vehicles that patrol high-volume roadways and major work zones, the Safety Patrol assists motorists who are involved in minor crashes or are experiencing a breakdown.
It is a free service offered in select coverage areas statewide. Motorists can learn more about the program and share their feedback and experiences on
www.AssistPatrol.com or on social media using #AssistPatrol.
- Relocating disabled vehicles
- Providing small amounts of fuel
- Handling minor repairs (changing flat tires, battery jump starts)
- Removing small non-hazardous debris from the roadway
- Assisting with traffic control and crash scene clearance
The Wisconsin DOT State Farm® Safety Patrol drivers make regular patrols through the coverage areas looking for disabled vehicles.
Drivers who need basic roadside assistance should stay in their vehicles with seat belts fastened. To the extent possible, disabled vehicles should be maneuvered out of the traffic lanes.
Sheriff's Freeway Service Teams
The Sheriff’s Freeway Service Team program is staffed with uniformed officers who work in close cooperation with towing and recovery contractors. The Sheriff's Freeway Service Team vehicles are equipped with heavy-duty push bumpers and can carry several vehicle assistance tools. If a vehicle is disabled on the freeway, the patrols can push it quickly to a safer area for further assistance.
Dane County Sheriff's Office Freeway Service Team
The Dane County Sheriff's Office Freeway Service Team operates on US 12/14/18/151, Madison's Beltline, between I-39/90 and Mineral Point Road in Dane County.
Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office Freeway Service Team
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Freeway Service Team focuses on critical areas and trouble spots of the Milwaukee County freeway system, such as the I-94 east-west corridor between the Marquette and Zoo Interchanges.
Special Events Service Teams
In addition to the scheduled routes in Wisconsin work zones and the sheriff's coverage area, WisDOT contracts for patrol service to aid motorists at special events. The contracted service uses dedicated tow trucks that continuously patrol designated highway segments during specified hours of operations.
The patrols will relocate disabled vehicles from the highway to a safe location, such as a crash investigation site or a park and ride lot, where the motorist can contact a private towing service for further help.