Safety Service Patrol

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Safety Service Patrol (SSP) program began in the late 1960s, initially with district maintenance personnel providing assistance to disabled motorists in Northern Virginia during rush hours.

Over the last 50 years, the SSP has transformed into its own distinct program. 

Today, the program has expanded its patrol areas and has enhanced duties. 

The SSP is an integral part of the overall traffic incident management strategy.  

The primary focus of the SSP program is incident management and emergency response. 

By reducing duration of incidents, it minimizes traffic congestion at, or near, incident scenes.

Such scenes include traffic crashes, debris and disabled vehicles.

One of the duties of the Safety Service Patroller is to provide short-term traffic control and scene management.

This promotes the safe movement of people and commerce, and reduces congestion and delays.

SSP units primarily patrol interstate highways and controlled-access primary routes.

There are 45 patrol posts across the commonwealth. Of these, 23 of the patrol posts provide 24/7/365 coverage.

Approximately 846 interstate centerline miles are covered by the program, out of a total of 1,119 interstate centerline miles.

On average, the SSP responds to approximately 147,000 incidents per year.

The program is committed to providing professional, well-trained and courteous patrollers to the citizens of the commonwealth and its visitors.


Click map at right to see patrol areas.

To ensure safety, SSP patrollers wear special highly visible, reflective uniforms and drive specially marked vehicles.

state mapSix core services

  • Detecting incidents and disruptions in traffic
  • Minimizing incident duration
  • Clearing obstructions and debris from the roadway
  • Establishing temporary traffic control for emergency responders and providing scene assistance as needed as per the Move It Law. This includes serving in the capacity of VDOT on-scene field commander as part of the command structure at the scene, and providing incident and congestion management functions until relived.
  • Additionally and where applicable, support reversible roadway and high-occupancy vehicle gate operations to ensure safe and incident-free lane change functions

Secondary motorist assist services

  • Tire change assistance
  • Fuel to get to nearest gas station
  • Jump starts
  • Water for overheating radiators
  • Phone access to call local tow / recovery services
  • Directions

Note: Patrol routes and schedules are subject to change.


Page last modified: Dec. 11, 2018