Kathy Liebler
                      Manager 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: Lowman S. Henry                        August 26, 1997
(717) 939-9551 Ext. # 2934


Travelers Urged to 'Buckle Up' When Driving on the Turnpike

Harrisburg, PA -- Construction projects along the 506-mile Pennsylvania Turnpike will be modified or halted over the Labor Day Weekend so that all lanes can be open during the last major holiday of the 1997 summer season. Officials expect more than 1.5 million vehicles will drive on the Turnpike during what is traditionally one of the most heavily traveled weekends of the year.

All lanes will be open the entire length of the Turnpike from 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 28 through 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 3. Lower speed limits will be in effect in construction areas with narrow lanes.

"We urge travelers to slow down and exercise extra caution in these areas," said Captain Richard A. Stein of the Pennsylvania State Police. Stein added that extra State Police patrols will be deployed on the Turnpike over the Labor Day weekend to assist motorists in need and to enforce traffic regulations.

Turnpike travelers are reminded that seat belts must be worn when driving on Pennsylvania highways. State law requires children from birth until their first birthday must be buckled in an approved child safety seat in the back seat only and, through age four children must be buckled in the back seat.

Drivers are responsible for ensuring children under the age of four are properly buckled into their vehicle. There is a $25.00 fine for not doing so. In fact, drivers and passengers of any age face a $10.00 fine for not wearing a seat belt, with the driver legally responsible for any passenger under the age of eighteen. "Parents and other adults should be especially mindful of children," Stein said. "Particularly making sure that infants and children are properly buckled into their vehicle."

Another key safety component found in many cars is an air bag. Problems with air bags have received a lot of media coverage in recent months. The National Safety Council maintains that air bags do save lives. The Council warns, however, that air bags are not soft, billowy pillows. To do its job, an air bag comes out of the dashboard at up to 200 miles per hour. The force of an air bag can hurt those who are close to it.

To prevent injury, the Council recommends that children under the age of 12 should ride buckled up in a rear seat. Further, infants should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger side air bag. Drivers should check their owner's manual to learn more about their air bags.

Over the Labor Day weekend, Farmers' Markets will be open at the New Stanton, Sideling Hill, Valley Forge and Allentown service plazas. Pennsylvania Made Craft Centers will be open through Sunday at the Zelienople and North Neshaminy service plazas. Service plazas along the Turnpike are open 24-hours per day and offer a variety of food services, gift shops, faxes, public phones, restrooms and service station facilities.

If emergencies do arise while driving on the Turnpike, travelers can make use of emergency call boxes which are located at one-mile intervals along the toll road. Help can also be summoned by dialing *11 (star one-one) on a cellular telephone. Turnpike safety patrols and maintenance vehicles will be patrolling the highway along with the Pennsylvania State Police to assist motorists in need.

Permits for over-dimensional vehicles will not be available from sundown Thursday, August 28 to sunrise Wednesday, September 3. This restriction applies to vehicles exceeding 8 1/2 feet in width, 85 feet in length, 13 1/2 feet in height and 100,000 pounds gross weight.


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