RALEIGH – As the summer travel season begins, the N.C. Department of Transportation, in partnership with GEICO, today announced a new, statewide effort that encourages North Carolina drivers to stop driving distracted. Highway rest areas are now rebranded as “Safe Phone Zones”, and have signage asking drivers to wait to check their phones until they arrive at one of these locations.
“Last year, 1,394 people died in vehicle crashes in North Carolina, many due to distracted driving. This is far too many lives gone and more must be done to increase driver awareness,” said NCDOT Chief Engineer Tim Little. “Programs such as this GEICO partnership help remind every driver who gets behind the wheel that they must become part of the solution.”
As part of a national effort encouraging drivers to pull into a safe location to use their phones for calling, texting and accessing mobile apps, North Carolina has designated all 58 rest areas across the state asSafe Phone Zones. New, informative signs sponsored by GEICO have been installed along the highways leading to these facilities.
“Safe Phone Zones give us an opportunity to do more to help reduce the number of distracted drivers on North Carolina’s highways,” said John Pham, GEICO regional vice president. “We always urge drivers to pull off to a safe spot to check their phones. Now we have a more effective way to remind them there are safe, convenient areas available for them to get connected through Safe Phone Zones.”
GEICO’s sponsorship of the Safe Phone Zones is a supplemental funding source to offset operating costs of North Carolina’s rest areas. Legislation previously passed allows public-private partnerships for rest areas and the ferry system.
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 16 million private passenger customers, insuring more than 27 million vehicles (auto & cycle).