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Talking on your cellphone while you drive can certainly lead to distraction and accidents — but having a cellphone in your car can be very useful in an emergency situation.
In almost any state, you may dial 911 for emergencies, but due to the high volume of calls that 911 operators receive, in some cases it might be better to use the phone numbers listed below, particularly to report highway-safety related "non-emergencies." If you have difficulty reaching these numbers, you can always dial "0" to request help.
Some states have special cellphone-only numbers such as *SP (star 77) for State Police or *HP (star 47) for Highway Patrol, to report highway/vehicle related problems. You should use the numbers, below, only to report vehicle breakdowns/problems, accidents, hazardous material spills, or other highway hazards/problems, as well as impaired or aggressive/reckless drivers and other criminal behavior.
Use cellphones safely — be aware of laws which prohibit using cellphones while driving.
While we work to keep this list current, at any point in time, some of the listings (below) may be out of date. Before you travel, as part of your travel/itinerary planning, we'd urge you to check with the state public safety departments (or their websites) on your planned route for updated/current cellphone contact listings.
EXPANDED STATE-BY-STATE LISTINGS (Updated 3-27-2012)
Alabama: Cellphone-only: *HP (star 47)
Arkansas: 911 or Cellphone-only: *55 (star 55)
Colorado: 911 or Cellphone-only: *CSP (star 277) or *DUI (star 384) —to report DUIs
Connecticut: 911 or (800-443-6817)
Florida: 911 or 800-459-6861 or Cellphone-only: *FHP (star 347)
Georgia: 911 or Cellphone-only: *GSP (star 477)
Idaho: 911 or 800-233-1212 or Cellphone-only: *ISP (star 477)
Illinois: 911 or Cellphone-only: *999 (star 999)
Iowa: 911 or 800-555-HELP (800-555-4357)
Kansas: 911 (Statewide) or Cellphone-only: *HP (star 47 for Salina, KS;
*KTA (*482) —Kansas Turnpike and for Wichita, KS
Kentucky: 911 or 800-222-5555
Louisiana: 911 or Cellphone-only: *LHP (star 547);
Lake Ponchartrain Causeway: *27 (star 27 —cellphone-only) or 504-893-6250
Maine: 911 or Cellphone-only: *SP (star 77)
Maryland: 911 or Cellphone-only: #SP (pound 77)
Massachusetts: Cellphones: *MSP (star 677) - in the 413 areacode; *SP (star 77) —outside the 413 areacode
Mississippi: Cellphone only: *HP (star 47)
Missouri: Cellphone-only: *55 (star 55) or 800-525-5555
Montana: 911 (emergency only) or 800-525-5555 (non-emergency)
Nebraska: 911 or 800-525-5555 or Cellphone-only:*55 (star 55)
Nevada: 911 or Cellphone-only:*NHP (star 647)
New Hampshire: 911 or 800-622-2394 or Cellphone-only: *SP (star 77)
New Jersey: 911 or Cellphone-only: #77 (pound 77 —to report aggressive driving)
New Mexico: 911 or 505-827-9301
New York: 911
North Carolina: Cellphone only: *HP (star 47) or 800-662-7956
North Dakota: 911
Ohio: 911 or 800-525-5555 (OHP) or 800-877-7PATROL
(Ohio only, to report non-emergency safety concerns) or
800-GRAB-DUI (to report erratic driving)
Oklahoma: Cellphone-only *55 (star 55)
Pennsylvania: 911 or Cellphone-only: *11 (star 11) —on turnpikes
Rhode Island: 911 or 401-444-1069
South Carolina: Cellphone only: *HP (star 47)
South Dakota: 911
Tennessee: Cellphone-only: *THP (star 847) or 615-741-2060
Texas: 911 or 800-525-5555 or Cellphone-only: *DPS (star 377)
Utah: 911 or Cellphone-only: *11 (star 11)
Vermont: 911 or DWI Hotline: 800-GETADWI and *DWI (star 394 —cellphone-only)
Virginia: 911 or Cellphone-only: #SP (pound 77)
U.S. Virgin Islands: 911
West Virginia: Cellphone-only: *SP (star 77)
Wyoming: Cellphone only: #HELP (pound 4357) or 800-442-9090
When in doubt:
0 (zero) —Operator assistance
411 —local directory assistance
(area code) + 555-1212 —non-local directory assistance
MANY STATES: 511 (for Road/Weather/Traffic Conditions)
511 —"America's Traveler Information Telephone Number", providing current road conditions & construction/closure information.
About half the states currently have working 511 systems statewide or in some cities/areas. Almost all states have received funding to set up 511 systems.
Click here to visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (NHWA) "511" webpage for a state-by-state map/listing of 511 systems.
Phone numbers for the map and expanded listings (above) were acquired from various state law enforcement agency websites and other online government sources including the NHTSA's Programs Across the United States That Aid Motorists in the Reporting of Impaired Drivers to Law Enforcement, Final Report, March 2007.