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Call Box Program

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) became the operator of the Call Box Program in San Diego County in January 2013. SANDAG operates and maintains more than 370 call boxes along rural state highways in the San Diego region.

In October 2017, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved a plan to right-size the call box network and enhance operations of motorist aid services. The two-year implementation plan will increase service hours for the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP), promote awareness of the free roadside assistance available through the mobile 511 program, and remove underused call boxes throughout the region. Several factors were considered to determine which call boxes to remove, including availability of cell phone coverage, whether the FSP covers the area, and safety for stranded motorists.

The call boxes on rural highways form a network of cellular telephones, designed to link travelers in need to call center staff 24 hours per day. Assistance is available from police, fire, ambulance, towing, and other service personnel, or even from a family member or friend. Motorists simply open the yellow call box, pick up the phone, and press the "call" button to reach the call center, where an operator will ensure that the stranded motorist is connected with the appropriate roadside assistance service. Distressed motorists can reach the same service from anywhere in San Diego County by calling 511 from their cell phone and saying “Roadside Assistance.”

The Call Box program is operated in accordance with statewide Motorist Aid Guidelines, developed in coordination with Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol.

The operation of the call box system is made possible by a $1 annual fee on vehicle registrations in each participating county. The fee is collected by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Report a damaged call box

Call 511 for Free Roadside Assistance