CHARLESTON, WV – As West Virginians prepare for the long holiday weekend ahead, Gov. Jim Justice is announcing today a sponsorship program urging drivers to curb distracted driving.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Parkways Authority has partnered with Encova Insurance to create “Safe Phone Zones” on the WV Turnpike.
“We want every West Virginian to get out and enjoy the incredible beauty our state has to offer. But we’ve all got to make a real commitment to doing so safely,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s why I hope you will support our new Safe Phone Zones. These are spots where you can take care of any business you might have on your cell phone safely so that when you get back behind the wheel, you can put your phone away and put your full focus on the road, where it belongs.”
As part of a vital effort to encourage drivers to pull into a safe location to use their smartphones for calling, texting and accessing mobile apps, the WV Turnpike has designated its Welcome Center, Rest Area and Travel Plaza facilities as Safe Phone Zones. New, informative signs, sponsored by Encova, have been installed along the Turnpike leading to these facilities. Additional onsite signage advises about the sponsorship and discourages distracted driving, while encouraging drivers to take this opportunity to use their cell phones and other communication devices at these Safe Phone Zones, off of the roadway.
“Distracted driving has plagued our nation,” Encova President and CEO TJ Obrokta Jr. said. “We are proud to sponsor this program to help drivers throughout West Virginia be safer on the road.”
Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 2,841 lives in 2018 alone, coupled with an estimated 400,000 people injured in crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the USDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA also advises that texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving; at any given moment across America approximately 660,000 drivers are using or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
The WV Turnpike stretches 88 miles, from Charleston to Princeton. The Safe Phone Zones are located at: Morton Travel Plaza (Milepost 72 NB), Rest Area 69 (Milepost 69 SB), Beckley Travel Plaza and Tamarack (Exit 45 NB and SB), Bluestone Travel Plaza (Milepost 18 NB) and Princeton Welcome Center (Exit 9 NB and SB).
More facts and tips on ways to avoid distracted driving can be found at www.SafePhoneZone.com. For more information about the WV Turnpike and Encova Safe Phone Zone sponsorship program, click here. To join the conversation on social media, use #EncovaSafePhoneZone.