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NJDOT, AAA remind motorists to use ‘Safe Phone Zones’

Nearly 50 million travelers expected to drive this Thanksgiving

NEW JERSEY – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti is reminding motorists to curb distracted driving by using “Safe Phone Zones,” sponsored by AAA Northeast, located in rest areas and scenic overlooks statewide.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, drivers are reminded that injuries and fatalities increase during busy holiday weekends, and distracted driving is the number one cause of fatal crashes in New Jersey. AAA estimates 49.1 million people will travel by car nationwide over the Thanksgiving holiday. This season marks the start of AAA Northeast’s sponsorship of Safe Phone Zones in New Jersey.

“Programs such as this partnership with AAA help get the message out about highway safety and remind every driver of the dangers of distracted driving,” GutierrezScaccetti said. “We encourage motorists to use the 14 designated Safe Phone Zones if they need to make a call.”

“Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes, and cell phones are a potent distraction,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast’s Vice President of Public/Government Affairs. “We encourage drivers to stash their cell phones out of reach and out of sight—or designate a passenger to read and share texts. If you absolutely must message someone, follow the signs, and pull safely off the road.”

Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,522 lives in 2021 alone, according to the USDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA also advises that talking and texting on your phone, talking to passengers in your vehicle, eating and drinking, fiddling with the radio or a navigation system – anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the task of safe driving – is distracted driving. You cannot drive safely unless your full attention is on the road.

As part of the solution, the NJDOT has designated 14 rest areas and scenic overlook facilities throughout the state as Safe Phone Zones, where drivers can safely and conveniently use their mobile devices for calling, texting, posting, and accessing apps.

Eight of New Jersey’s Safe Phone Zones are identified with AAA branded highway signs, reminding motorists to pull off to use their smartphones and tablets safely. These locations include:

  • West Milford Rest Area located on Route 23 northbound (mile post 20.7) in Passaic County
  • Roxbury Rest Area (Trucks Only) located on I-80 westbound (mile post 32.2) in Morris County
  • Harding Rest Area (Trucks Only) located on I-287 northbound (mile post 32.75) in Morris County
  • Bridgewater Scenic Overlook located on I-78 westbound (mile post 32.4) in Somerset County
  • Allamuchy Scenic Overlooks (2) located on I-80 eastbound and westbound (mile post 20.5) in Warren County
  • Allamuchy Rest Areas/Picnic Areas (2) located on I-80 eastbound and westbound (mile post 21.7) in Warren County

In addition to using Safe Phone Zones, motorists are reminded to slow down and move over at least one lane, if safe, when there are emergency personnel and workers on the road, it’s the law.

Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website for construction updates and real-time travel information.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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