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Author Topic: Missouri Highway Patrol officers say they're trying to get the word out abt *55  (Read 1967 times)

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Offline Eeyore

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Reported by: Chris Grogan
Thursday, May 31, 2007 @08:39pm
Dialing for help takes a new turn.  Rather than dialing 911 in an emergency on the highway, more people are dialing *55 on their cell phones.  Missouri Highway Patrol officers say they're trying to get the word out that, more often than not, it's a better option than 911.

It's a phone number that began as a way for drivers to call if they saw a crash or got stuck on the side of the road.  But as more drivers began driving around with cell phones, *55 morphed into more of a public safety tool.  One that troopers say is often the best option on the highway.

"We want you to dial *55." says Sergeant Dan Bracker with the Missouri Highway Patrol.

And more people are doing just that.   A recent National Highway Transportation Safety Administration report shows almost 25 percent of drivers are now using *55 to report a drunk driver on the highway. But the calls don't end there.  Drivers also dial *55 to report on everything from road rage incidents to amber alert tips.

Sgt. Bracker says, "The call comes right to the Troop that you're in.  We can get an officer dispatched.  If we don't have anybody in that location, we can get a county or city patrol car headed to that location."

And that's an important point. Officers say when dialing 911, it may take more time for an officer response since some of those calls get routed to other dispatches.

"Sometimes if you dial 911, your call might be directed to Kansas City police, Columbia or St. Louis.  The *55 call goes directly to the Troop. It's a great tool." says Sgt. Bracker.

Officers say their biggest concern right now lies in potential abuse of the number.   They say it should only be used in emergencies.  Anything that isnít, drivers should use a non-emergency number.  Overall though, they say go ahead and use *55 as the number to call when you see an emergency on the highway.

By the way, the number of *55 calls tend to go up in the summer.
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Offline GreekMeadow

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They need to run this on a TV is very good information!
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Offline Eeyore

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It would make a good Radio and TV Public Service Announcement, wouldn't it.
    "Hey, hey, hey, hey now.  Don't be mean.  We don't have to be mean. because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are."      - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across The Eighth Dimension

Offline blissfullybusy

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They have signs on I-44 but I haven't seen them anywhere else.  I have used it a few times, when I've seen some pretty crazy drivers.
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Offline BaLa

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it works ok most of the time...

I have been routed to Troop D close to home.
I live in the SW Corner of Laclede County, which actually belongs to Troop I.
Prolly doesn't help, that If I get on I44, 3 miles down the roads is Webster County, or 3 miles or so down the other side of J Highway is Dallas County.
Both of the other counties belong to Troop D.
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Thanks for the info Eeyore.  Wish I had known about this before.  It seems like every trip we make to Springfield we encounter an accident waiting to happen.  When I have called 911, I am nornally routed to St Louis.  By the time the relay is made.....too late for anyone to react.