SANDAG Becomes Call Box Operator

Effective January 1, 2013, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) became the operator of the call box motorist aid program in San Diego County. The agenda from the December 7, 2012 SANDAG Board of Directors meeting includes the FY 2013 budget amendment, a summary of key provisions of AB 1572, and changes to SANDAG Board Policy No. 1, which delegated oversight of the call box program to the Transportation Committee.

Call Box Motorist Aid Program

The call box program is a free motorist aid service designed to help travelers who experience vehicle problems while on the highway. Call boxes are self-contained, solar-powered cellular telephones with voice communication to a call center. When motorists open the yellow call box, pick up the phone, and press the red “call” button, they are automatically connected to call center staff.

In San Diego County, distressed motorists also can reach the call center through the SANDAG 511 traveler information system by dialing “511” from their cell phone. The call center ensures stranded motorists are connected with the appropriate roadside assistance, whether it’s through the caller’s roadside assistance provider or California Highway Patrol. The call center can even help stranded motorists get in touch with local friends and family to assist them.


“I was with my daughter on the freeway when I felt that I had a flat tire. I pulled over and called 5-1-1 because I had heard about it in an advertisement. I discovered that a nail was stuck in my tire and the tow truck towed my car. I really enjoyed this service and would use it again."
-Motorist on Interstate 54

“I was driving on the 15 in the South Bay when a chunk of metal flew off another car and sliced my tire. I called my office and the receptionist in my office had heard about 5-1-1 on a television advertisement. I really liked this service. I was in the middle of nowhere and didn’t know what else to do.”
-Motorist on Interstate 15

“I was alone when my car broke down and saw the posted sign for the 5-1-1 so I decided to call it. I called from my vehicle and was connected very quickly and the operator was very kind and cooperative. I was glad the signs were posted because I didn’t know anyone else to call.”
-Motorist on Interstate 5 near Carmel Valley