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: Kay Jenkins Rew (610) 279-1645 Kathy Liebler (717) 939-9551             December 18, 1997

 PA TURNPIKE OFFICALS

URGING HOLIDAY TRAVELERS TO BUCKLE UP

(ATTENTION RADIO STATIONS: VOICE ACTUALITIES RELATED TO THIS NEWS RELEASE ARE AVAILABLE. PLEASE CALL TIBS, THE TURNPIKE’S INFORMATION BROADCAST SERVICE AT 1-800-563-5425.)

Philadelphia, PA -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is encouraging motorists to use their seat belts and child safety restraints throughout the holidays.

Executive Director John T. Durbin said, "Statistics show that seat belt usage saves lives. Turnpike motorists are our valued custoemrs and our message to them this holiday season is loud and clear – Buckle up and make sure everyone in the vehicle is safely secured before beginning your journey."

Turnpike Risk Manager Dennis L. Genevie added, "By wearing seat belts in passenger vehicles, you reduce the risk of fatalities by 45 percent."

Officials expect over 1.5 million motorists to travel the Turnpike from Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, January 2. Throughout the holiday period, additional Pennsylvania State Police and Turnpike maintenance crews will patrol the Turnpike looking for speeders, drunk and drowsy drivers, and disabled vehicles. Pennsylvania State Police Commanding Officer (Troop T) Captain Richard A. Stein commented, "Current seat belt and child safety restraint laws will be strictly enforced. We want all Turnpike motorists to reach their destinations safely."

In order to avoid drowsiness, drivers are encouraged to take frequent breaks at any of the Turnpike’s 22 service plazas, open 24-hours a day. New Year’s Eve travelers are invited to enjoy a free cup of hot coffee available at all service plazas from 10 p.m., Wednesday, December 31, to 7 a.m. Thursday, January 1. Because inclement weather is always a possibility during the holidays, officials advise travelers to call the Turnpike’s customer information line (1-800-331-3414) before leaving home. In addition, motorists are urged to give their vehicles a thorough safety check before embarking on their journeys. Turnpike Director of Maintenance Robert M. Wallett said, "Something as simple as a flat tire or cracked hose can cause unneeded delays and aggravation. It’s always smart to make needed repairs and to pack emergency items like warm blankets, flashlights and snow-removal brushes before entering the highway."

Should motorists require emergency aid while traveling the Turnpike, yellow emergency call boxes are located at one mile intervals that enable travelers to immediately alert dispatchers in Harrisburg. Cellular phone users can also dial star 1-1 (*11) to obtain help.

To provide maximum use of the highway, there will be no maintenance or construction activity on the Turnpike from Friday, December 19 through Monday, January 5. Oversized and overweight vehicles (8 feet wide, 85 feet long, 13 feet high, and 100,000 pounds gross weight) will be banned on the Turnpike from sundown Friday, December 19 through sunrise Monday, December 29.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

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