Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

    C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E

         Contact: Christina Hampton (610) 292-3785 OR                               August 27, 1996
                       Lowman S. Henry (717) 939-9551 Ext. 2934

Travelers Urged to Get Enough Rest Before Taking Long Trips

        PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Summer's last holiday is at hand and more than 1.4 million vehicles are expected to use the 506-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike as motorists take to the road for the three- day Labor Day weekend.
        Turnpike officials are urging drivers to get enough rest before traveling. Drowsy driving is a major safety hazard. Studies show nearly a third of all drivers have dozed off while at the wheel. Among that group, 12% had an accident because they fell asleep while driving.
        Two new craft centers, four farmer's markets and maximum unrestricted travel await Turnpike motorists. All lanes will be open the entire length of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from 6 p.m. Thursday, August 29 through 6 a.m. Wednesday, September 3. The only exception will be a 4 mile section of the Northeast Extension between the Pocono (#35) and Wilkes-Barre (#36) interchanges. There will be single lanes and a 40 m.p.h. speed limit due to construction in that area.
        A major problem, especially during the summer months, are sleep deprived or drowsy drivers. "Drowsy drivers are a danger to themselves and to others," said John Hickey, Research and Programming Manager at the Turnpike. "When you're driving a car, or any vehicle, split second reflexes can mean the difference between life and death."
        Because safety is the number one priority at the Turnpike, SNAP (Sonic Nap Alert Pattern) rumble strips have been installed on the shoulder of the road to alert drowsy drivers. SNAP has reduced drift-off-road accidents caused by drowsiness by almost 60%. "However, SNAP is only a warning for drivers," Hickey continued. "SNAP won't help if motorists don't heed the warning after being alerted by the rumble sound and pull off the road."
        A short nap can often restore a driver's alertness. The Turnpike has numerous roadside rest areas and 22 services plazas where drowsy motorists can pull off the highway for a short walk, a nap or a cup of coffee.
        Service plazas along the Turnpike offer a variety of food services, gift shops, faxes, public phones, restrooms and service station facilities. Farmer's Markets are located at the New Stanton, Sideling Hill and Valley Forge services plazas along the main line and at the Allentown Service Plaza on the Northeast Extension.
        An added attraction this Labor Day weekend are two new Craft Centers located at the Zelienople Welcome Center (approximately 9 miles east of the exit # 2 the Beaver Valley Interchange) and at the North Neshaminy Welcome Center (approximately 7 miles west of the Delaware River Bridge, exit #30). The creative work of over 100 Pennsylvania craft artists will be for sale to the public. The new shops feature everything from handmade gold, silver and costume jewelry to hand-blown and stained glass.
        Captain Richard A. Stein of Pennsylvania State Police Troop T urges motorists to use both their seat belts and extra caution over the holiday weekend due to the high volume of traffic. Additional State Police vehicles, marked and unmarked, will be patrolling the Turnpike over the Labor Day weekend. Extra maintenance and Turnpike safety patrols are also scheduled to provide assistance to motorists.
        If emergencies do arise, motorists can use the Turnpike's emergency call boxes, located at one-mile intervals along the toll road. Help can also be summoned by dialing *11 (star one-one) on a cellular phone.
        Permits for over-dimensional vehicles will not be available from sundown Thursday, August 29 to sunrise Wednesday, September 4. The restriction applies to vehicles exceeding 8 1/2 feet in width, 85 feet in length, 13 1/2 feet in height and 100,000 pounds gross weight.


         P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649