Highway patrol

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A highway patrol is either a police unit created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways, or a detail within an existing local or regional police agency that is primarily concerned with such duties.

Duties of highway patrols or traffic police may include the following:

Accident investigation
Gathering evidence to determine the cause of a roadway accident.
Commercial vehicle enforcement
Enforcing highway laws related to commercial transport, including weight limits and hazardous materials rules.
Providing public information, handouts, and displays to encourage safe driving and usage of the roads.
Emergency response
Securing the scene of a traffic accident by using cones and flares as well as providing first aid to the injured.
Law enforcement
Assisting local police in rural areas, and keeping an eye out for non-traffic violations.
Observing and reporting damage to the roadways, and conducting hasty road surveys after disasters or the passage of inclement weather.
Traffic enforcement
Enforcing laws and regulations intended to improve traffic safety, such as speed limits.


In Argentina, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Argentine National Gendarmerie.


In Australia, traffic policing is the responsibility of the state police forces. Each force has its own traffic sections, often a local section in each area and a statewide section.


In Belgium, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Wegpolitie - Police de la Route (WPR) a section of the Federal Police (former Gendarmerie).


In Brazil, traffic policing is the responsibility of state and federal police forces accordingly to the highway administration status. State administered highways (usually shorter, within state borders, two-way, single lane, lower traffic) are policed by a branch of the Military Police forces, called State Highway Military Police. At the same time Federal highways and roads (longer, crossing state borders, some double lane and high-traffic) are the responsibility of the Federal Highway Police.


In Canada, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, except for the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

There is also a third police force in Newfoundland known as the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which serves several metropolitan areas.[1] Although this police force no longer exists as the main provincial police service, it is in competition with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the role.

Currently, the provincial sheriffs' service in Alberta maintains a highway patrol that shares traffic duties with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and historically, several provinces, e.g. New Brunswick, have had their own highway patrols. Quebec also operates the Contrôle routier Québec, who enforce traffic laws in relation heavy vehicles.


In Colombia, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Highway Police.


In Croatia, traffic police special department is the national motorway patrol, patrols the motorways in Croatia. Missions include the prevention and detection of driving offences. The car fleet is BMW 330d, Mercedes-Benz C 320 CDI, Skoda Superb, VW Passat, VW Tuareg, Audi A4, Honda Accord, Ford Mondeo, Opel Vectra and Porsche Carrera 997.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Policie CR.


In France, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of dedicated units of the Gendarmerie Nationale, the Escadron départementaux de sécurité routière (EDSR) and the CRS autoroutières of the National Police (France).


Road sign of the 62nd US Highway Patrol in Germany (1948–1958)

In Germany, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Autobahnpolizei section of the Landespolizei.


In India, traffic policing on highways are carried out by state police forces.

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Police
  2. Andhra Pradesh Police
  3. Arunachal Pradesh Police
  4. Assam Police
  5. Bihar Police
  6. Chandigarh Police
  7. Chhattisgarh Police
  8. Dadra and Nagar Haveli Police
  9. Daman and Diu Police
  10. Goa Police
  11. Gujarat Police
  12. Haryana Police
  13. Himachal Pradesh Police
  14. Jammu and Kashmir Police
  15. Jharkhand Police
  16. Karnataka Police
  17. Kerala Police
  18. Lakshadweep Police
  19. Madhya Pradesh Police
  20. Maharashtra Police
  21. Manipur Police
  22. Meghalaya Police
  23. Mizoram Police
  24. Nagaland Police
  25. Orissa Police
  26. Pondicherry Police
  27. Punjab Police
  28. Rajasthan Police
  29. Sikkim Police
  30. Tamil Nadu Police
  31. Tripura Police
  32. Uttar Pradesh Police
  33. Uttarakhand Police
  34. West Bengal Police


In Indonesia, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Indonesian National Police.


In Italy, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Polizia Stradale section of the civilian Polizia di Stato and the military Carabinieri.


In Japan, the Traffic Bureau of the National Police Agency licenses drivers, enforces traffic safety laws, and regulates traffic. Intensive traffic safety and driver education campaigns are run at both national and prefectural levels. The bureau's Expressway Division addresses special conditions of the nation's growing system of express highways.


In Mexico, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Policía Federal.


In the Netherlands, policing on the highways falls under the purview of the Dienst Verkeerspolitie (transportation police), which is one the Korps landelijke politiediensten (national police services, as opposed to the regional forces).


In Pakistan, traffic policing on National Highways And Motorways is the responsibility of National Highways & Motorway Police.


In, Poland, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Policja.


In Portugal, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Republican National Guard.


In Russia, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the GIBDD section of the Politsiya (formerly Militsiya) and the Public Security Service of the MVD.


Renault Twizy of the Madrid Highway police

In Spain, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the Civil Guard, except in the autonomous communities with transferred competences on traffic policing (Catalonia and the Basque Country), where regional police forces (Mossos d'Esquadra and Ertzaintza, respectively) are responsibly for this area. In Navarra, traffic policing is shared between the Guardia Civil and the regional police (Policía Foral de Navarra).

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Traffic Police.


In Sweden, traffic policing is the responsibility of the Swedish Police Authority. All Swedish police officers have the authority to stop drivers but it is only the police officers within the Swedish Traffic Police division who have the authority to clamp vehicles etc.


In Taiwan, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the National Police Agency.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, traffic policing on highways is the responsibility of the road policing unit of the territorial police force.

United States

California Highway Patrol

Many state police agencies in the United States take the name of "highway patrol" rather than "state police". State police agencies may fulfill the role of highway patrol, and vice versa. For instance, the California Highway Patrol is actually a state police agency, meaning that it is a police body having statewide authority to conduct law enforcement activities and criminal investigations. In addition to its highway patrol duties described above, it performs functions outside the normal purview of the city police or the county sheriff, such as enforcing traffic laws on state highways and interstate expressways, overseeing the security of the state capitol complex, protecting the governor, training new officers for local police forces too small to operate an academy, providing technological and scientific support services, and helping to coordinate multi-jurisdictional task force activity in serious or complicated cases. The California Highway Patrol also serves as bailiffs and courtroom deputies for certain state courts, such as the appellate courts and the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco. The state traffic enforcement agency retained the name "California Highway Patrol" after the merger of the smaller California State Police with the larger—and better-known—CHP and the combination of their functions into one agency.

However, some Highway Patrol organizations, such as the North Carolina State Highway Patrol are specifically charged with the enforcement of traffic laws, and while able to enforce other laws, they are not official "state police" agencies[2] in the same vein as the California Highway Patrol or the New Jersey State Police. In other cases, states like Texas have a bona fide and appropriately named state police department such as the Texas Department of Public Safety, of which only one arm is a highway patrol division. In addition, the police departments of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia have highway patrol units. A privately compiled list of Highway Patrol organizations and similar state police agencies is available on the web.[3] The Iowa State Patrol maintains a list of phone numbers and * and # cell phone numbers for non-emergency calls to the dispatchers of the Highway Patrol organizations in all 50 states.[4] These numbers are useful for motorists who want to report aggressive driving, driving under the influence, or other dangerous but not life-threatening situations that do not require a 9-1-1 call.

Highway patrol and state police officers are often referred to as "state troopers". Historically, a troop was a small cavalry unit; many state police forces originated as mounted paramilitary forces who were stationed in barracks like soldiers, hence the term "trooper." A state trooper goes by the title "trooper", as in "Trooper John Smith". Some agencies, particularly on the east coast, refer to their state police offices as "barracks," although troopers generally do not reside there. Other state police forces, particularly highway patrols as in California, have always modeled themselves after police officers who simply commute to work like ordinary civilians. Like police officers, they use the title "officer."

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