Media & Public Relations

Contact: Carl DeFebo
Phone: 717-920-7176

Renee Vid Colborn
Phone: 717-920-7507
May 22, 2013
Pa. Turnpike Stresses Safety for Memorial Day Drivers

Event at Sideling Hill Service Plaza on Friday will promote safe driving.
HARRISBURG, PA (05/22/2013) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is urging Memorial Day motorists to keep alert and stay focused over the holiday weekend. Memorial Day is one of the heaviest traveled holidays of the year for the Turnpike.

“We’re expecting nearly two million vehicles on the Turnpike during this four-day holiday weekend, so we need drivers to pay attention and keep both hands on the wheel. Remember, Pennsylvania law prohibits texting and emailing while driving,” said Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “We also want holiday motorists to be aware of the other safety rules, such as moving over for stopped emergency vehicles, obeying the posted speed limits, and using their seatbelts.”

To make driving easier for holiday travelers, the Turnpike will suspend maintenance work and have all lanes in each direction available for traffic beginning at 3 p.m. on May 23 and ending at 6 a.m. on May 29. In the event of emergency lane restrictions, the Turnpike will activate its Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory System (1640 AM) to inform motorists of conditions.

A Safety Break at the Turnpike's Sideling Hill Service Plaza in Fulton County will help enlighten drivers on the dangers of distracted driving, seatbelt laws and other safety tips. The Safety Break will be held May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the plaza on the Turnpike mainline at milepost 172 just east of the Breezewood Interchange (Exit #161).

“With so many people traveling to parties and different events this holiday weekend, we want to remind people not to drink and drive,” said Capt. Gregory M. Bacher of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the troop in charge of Turnpike patrols. “We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. We also want to remind people to buckle up and make sure all children are properly restrained.”

This holiday weekend also commemorates National Missing Children’s Day, which has been observed on May 25 every year since 1983. The PTC was the first highway system to enter a formal partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and has been supporting the organization for eight years. During Friday’s Safety Break, the Turnpike will provide child ID cards and fingerprinting strips along with information sheets about the National Missing Children’s Day to customers at the Sideling Hill plaza.

The Turnpike will be offering Safety Break events all summer long at various service plazas to educate drivers about the importance of wearing seat belts, aggressive driving, work-zone safety and more. The other locations and times for Safety Break events are: June 28, South Midway Service Plaza, Bedford County; July 26, New Stanton Plaza, Westmoreland County; Aug. 30, Allentown Service Plaza, Lehigh County; Nov. 27, Sideling Hill Service Plaza, Fulton County. All events are held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, two service plazas have reopened along the Turnpike, offering travelers more variety and convenience. South Midway Plaza in Bedford County and Highspire Plaza in Dauphin County are open and ready for the summer travel season. The plazas have more spacious food courts, more food selections and contemporary restroom facilities. With the completion of these two, service plazas, 14 of the 17 plazas have been reconstructed to date.

Throughout the holiday and any other time of year, Turnpike travelers can get real-time roadway information via the Turnpike Roadway Information Program, or "TRIP," by visiting or calling 1-866-976-TRIP (8747). Turnpike users can also download a free app for Android or Apple smartphones called TRIPTalk that provides audio alerts about Turnpike stoppages or delays. Information on the eyes-free and hands-free app is available at

To report emergencies while travelling the Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone or deploy one of the call boxes on the shoulder. Be ready to provide your specific milepost location to the dispatcher when calling *11.