Highway Patrol Law and Legal Definition

Highway patrol refers to a police unit or a policy agency enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways. In the U.S., highway patrol is governed by state laws. For example, Cal Sts & Hy Code § 27177 states that the California highway patrol shall have the authority and duty to provide for proper and adequate policing of all facilities of travel constructed by the district, to insure the enforcement thereon of the Vehicle Code and of any other law relating to the use and operation of vehicles upon highways or vehicular crossings as defined in the Vehicle Code.

Duties of highway patrols or traffic police include the following:

1.Enforcing laws and regulations intended to improve traffic safety, such as speed limits;

2.Securing the scene of a traffic accident by using cones and flares as well as providing first aid to the injured;

3.Gathering evidence to determine the cause of a roadway accident ;

4.Enforcing highway laws related to commercial transport, including weight limits and hazardous materials rules;

5.Observing and reporting damage to the roadways, and conducting hasty road surveys after disasters or the passage of inclement weather;

6.Providing public information, handouts and displays to encourage safe driving and usage of the roads.