The issue was: What do you do when you are driving alone at night and an unmarked vehicle flashes its lights to pull you over? The Internet stories would indicate that all states have special speed dial codes (e.g., #77) set up with cell phone carriers. I asked DPS/Texas if there is such a code for us to use. Here is their reply:
A driver who suspects that someone other than law enforcement is trying to pull them over should call 911 immediately to determine whether the person pulling them over is an officer or not. They should then drive to a well-lighted, populated area, before pulling over.
They must keep in mind, however, that the person pulling them over could be law enforcement. They should reduce their speed significantly and put on their flashers to indicate that they are going to pull over, and they should follow the steps listed above. If they are being stopped by law enforcement, the officer might see their reluctance to pull over as a possible threat, which is why it is important to indicate that you do plan to pull over.
Please note that any DPS Highway Patrol trooper making a traffic stop WILL be in a clearly identifiable uniform.
Dialing #677 or #77 or any other combination of numbers other than 911 in Texas will not connect you with the police. You should always dial 911 in an emergency. If you are unsure whether the vehicle attempting to pull you over is a legitimate law enforcement officer, you should put your hazards on flash, reduce your speed and drive to the nearest populated area, such as a convenience store, a police station or a hospital emergency room.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and four wireless carriers have established *DPS, a statewide wireless phone number for Texas motorists to use when reporting non-life-threatening situations on Texas roads and highways.
Customers of participating wireless companies ALLTEL, Nextel, Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless¾can dial *DPS (*377) free of airtime charges anywhere in Texas, and receive roadside assistance for non-emergency situations. Similar to the DPS Roadside Assistance number, 1-800-525-5555, callers may quickly contact a DPS representative who will dispatch a State Trooper, other peace officer or appropriate assistance to the scene.
Examples of when a motorist should dial *DPS (asterisk 377) include:
–stranded with car problems,
–hazardous road conditions, or
–suspicious activity at a rest area.
Calls to *DPS are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are free of airtime charges courtesy of the wireless carriers.
*DPS is not intended to replace 911 as an emergency number; emergency calls should always be directed to 911. Although *DPS is intended for non-emergency calls, any emergency calls reported to the *DPS number will be handled by DPS operators, who would contact local law enforcement agencies for assistance.
Public Information Office
Texas Department of Public Safety