Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Sheriff's Office

Freeway Service Team

The Freeway Service Team began as a two-year pilot project on December 20, 2001. The program is operated by the Dane County Sheriff's Office under a contract with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The two vehicles in service are extended cab, four-wheel drive pickup trucks with special equipment to assist motorists. The vehicles are equipped with a changeable message sign, appropriate fluids, traffic cones, and other appropriate equipment needed to assist a stranded motorist.

Hours of operation are 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, and the team operates on USH 12-18 from Interstate 39 - 90 to Old Sauk Road.

All services provided by the Dane County Sheriff's Office Freeway Service Team are free of charge to motorists.

Tips for the Road

The Freeway Service Team would like to remind drivers who have vehicle problems, who are involved in a crash, or who are not comfortable where they are stranded in the flow of traffic, to do the following:

  1. When in doubt, call 911: The shoulder of any multilane roadway is designed for emergencies, so if you are there, think of it as an emergency. If your vehicle is in any part of the lane of travel, you must call 911. This includes all breakdowns such as running out of gas, flat tires, and mechanical problems. Leaving your vehicle unattended might result in the vehicle being deemed a road hazard and being towed. It is also illegal to walk on USH 12, as no pedestrians are allowed upon an expressway or freeway. The Freeway Service Team is designed to respond to provide basic needs to get your vehicle operating again. If that cannot be done quickly, we will move your vehicle to a safe location to receive additional service.
  2. Crashes: If you are involved in any type of crash, you should call 911, mainly for your protection and early warning for other motorists. Also, authorities can help determine if the crash is above $1,000 in damages, and therefore reportable by law.
  3. Steer It, Clear It Law: For minor crashes, by state law, if your vehicle can be driven and no one is injured, you should make every effort to move those vehicles out of the traffic lane.  If the shoulder is the only place to go, that is acceptable. But, if the vehicle could be moved out of visual sight of other motorists, such as a parking lot, that is much safer for everyone.
  4. Debris: Oftentimes, when you see debris on the roadway it is from drivers who did not properly secure their loads. This debris can cause damage to other vehicles and even crashes. If you see something that could be hazardous, contact 911. Remember when securing loads on your vehicle, just because it seems secure in your driveway or in a parking lot, it may not be secure at 55 miles per hour. Do not try to retrieve any debris yourself. Running out on a multilane roadway is very dangerous and salvaging debris is not worth your life.
  5. Move Over Law: In 2001, a law was created to protect people who work on the highway. The law states that if there is any emergency vehicle (police, fire, EMS, tow trucks, highway workers) on the shoulder of the roadway and they have their emergency lights on, motorists are required to make the area around that vehicle safer. If you are on a multilane roadway and it can be done safely, you must move over a lane. If that cannot be done or you are on a single lane roadway, you are required to slow down while passing that vehicle. Failure to do this could result in a ticket of $249 and three points. 

If you are going the speed limit, and not multitasking while driving, you will be able to react to anything that appears on the roadway in a safe manner.

Services Not Provided

The goal of the Freeway Service Team is to mitigate the impact of minor traffic incidents by providing free roadside assistance. It is not intended to provide all of the services that may be necessary to mitigate these minor incidents. Services that are not provided by the Freeway Service Team include:

  • Traffic crash investigations
  • General traffic enforcement, including speed limits
  • Criminal investigations

Enforcement Duties and Assistance to Other Law Enforcement Agencies

There are instances where the Freeway Service Team may be required to take enforcement actions, or upon request assist another agency. The Freeway Service Team will follow all policies and procedures of the Dane County Sheriff's Office. The duties of a Deputy Sheriff will supersede any conflicting duties of the Freeway Service Team.

Should an incident occur on the Beltline within one of the adjacent local communities and local law enforcement responds, the Freeway Service Team will defer to the jurisdiction of the local law enforcement agency present. The Freeway Service Team will be responsible for clearing the beltline of vehicles or debris that causes slowdowns. Deputies will focus on these issues and will not be responsible for criminal or traffic crash investigations that occur on the Beltline.