Programs - Highway Safety Patrols

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.

Programs include:

WisDOT Safety Patrol​ ​​​A white tow truck, says WisDOT Safety Patrol on the door.

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 WisDOT Safety Patrol sponsored by GEICO assists motorists who are involved​ in minor crashes or are experiencing a breakdown.

It is a free service offered in select coverage areas statewide.

Services

  • 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

Patrol operators for the WisDOT Safety Patrol sponsored by GEICO 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.

WisDOT is proud to team up with GEICO, the exclusive sponsor of the Safety Patrol. The goal of the collaborative sponsorship is to create a long-term, supplemental funding source for the Safety Patrol program. Visit SafetyPatrolinfo.com​ to learn more about the program and to tell us about your experience with the Safety Patrol. You can also post to social media using the hashtag #GEICOSafetyPatrol.

​The WisDOT Safety Patrol program is operated solely by Wis​DOT, and not authorized to contact GEICO on behalf of motorists or assist in insurance claims.​

A man in an orange safety vest looks under the hood of a car and prepares to jump start it.

​Coverage area​

Outagamie and Brown Counties

  • ​I-41 from WIS 96 (Exit 138) to County F (Exit 161)

Milwaukee County

  • I-41 from Greenfield Avenue (Exit ​​1) to Capitol Drive (Exit 44)
  • I-94 from 84th Street (Exit 306) to WIS 100 / Mayfair Road (Exit 304)
  • I-43 from Capitol Drive (Exit 76) to Silver Spring Drive (Exit 78)

Benefits of the WisDOT Safety Patrol: 1-39/90

From May 2015 to October 2021, the WisDOT Safety Patrol was active in the 1-39/90 construction zones throughout Dane and Rock counties. In that time drivers provided 16, 300 services to assist motorists in need, and keep traffic flowing. Services provided include:

  • Towing 5,930 vehicles
  • Changing 3, 340 flat tires
  • Removing 1,910 pieces of roadway debris​

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.

Belt line truck 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 Patrol vehicle​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.

History of the Safety Patrol

In January 1998, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (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​.​ The three types of safety patrols operating today have a shared mission to maintain safe travel for millions of drivers.​