OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say Oklahomans will need to remember a change if they need to contact law enforcement on a highway.
For nearly 30 years, *55 has been the number to call to reach Oklahoma Highway Patrol, particularly on highways and in rural areas.
“99% of them do not have big municipalities out and about so people have learned in some areas to just call the Highway Patrol,” said Trooper Eric Foster, with OHP.
Now, that number is going away and officials simply ask that you call 911.
“They get in a bad crash, they can’t tell us where they’re at,” Foster said. “It would find which tower you were bouncing off of cellular-wise, and it would route you to the nearest troop headquarters. Sometimes those weren’t accurate.”
Foster says the change to just calling 911 will help them find you faster and despite some public concern, lines will not be tied up.
As *55 goes away, OHP is becoming a secondary public safety access point.
“With this system, you’re likely to see less hold times or wait times in an emergency situation, especially in a massive critical situation, things like a tornado,” said Foster.
Troopers say even if it’s for something like getting help changing a tire in on a busy interstate, don’t hesitate to call 911 to reach them because that can be a very dangerous situation.