I like to have this number in my contacts list.  It's important to know the number is changing.

The Montana Highway Patrol is changing its toll-free number for non-emergency traffic concerns as it changes its phone service company to save over $81,000 a year.

The new number is 1-855-MHP-3777 or 1-855-647-3777.

The numbers 3-7-77 were the symbol of Montana vigilantes and are included on the MHP patches.

Col. Kenton Hickethier says the patrol's monthly phone bill had risen to nearly $7,575. The new carrier charges are estimated at $800.

Callers to the old MHP dispatch number will hear a recording directing them to dial the new number. The MHP Communications Center is always staffed. Last year, its dispatchers handled over 54,250 calls from around the state asking for assistance with issues ranging from stranded drivers to reports of drunken drivers.

Drivers should still call 911 for emergencies.

(AP)