Aug 30, 2012 at 03:56 PM
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State of Virginia Secures Corporate Sponsor For "Safe Phone Zones"

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell just announced Virginia’s launch of the “Safe Phone Zones” program sponsored by GEICO, which includes highway signs that direct motorists to Virginia’s Safety Rest Areas and Welcome Centers where they can safely use their phones for calling, texting, surfing and accessing mobile apps. In what may be a reptilian first, the iconic Geico lizard looks like it will be front and center on the state's highway signage.

The sponsorship was secured as part of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Sponsorship, Advertising and Vending Enhancement (SAVE) initiative, a cost-saving program designed to generate additional revenues to help defray the cost of operating the Commonwealth’s 43 Safety Rest Areas and Welcome Centers.

“My administration has moved aggressively to find innovative solutions for maintaining and operating Virginia's rest areas and welcome centers, which provide a safe place for travelers to rest and gather information about the many attractions and services Virginia has to offer,” said Governor McDonnell. “By partnering with the private sector, we are not only keeping our rest areas open, but we are making our roads safer by discouraging distracted driving.”

“We continue to work with the private and public sectors to develop other innovative funding alternatives,” added Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. “We are committed to getting the maximum value for each dollar we invest in Virginia’s infrastructure, and the SAVE program is part of that overall effort.”

As the official sponsor of Virginia’s Safety Rest Areas and Welcome Centers, GEICO encourages motorists to pull over to use their phones safely. GEICO will promote the new Rest Area Safe Phone Zones program on highway signs, brochures and on informational signage at each Virginia facility.

“As we all know, distracted driving is a major problem,” said Joe Thomas, GEICO’s regional vice president. “GEICO is committed to combating distracted driving and we are proud to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation on this issue. We all want to let drivers know about the Safe Phone Zones in Virginia, where people can take a break from driving at the state’s welcome centers and rest areas, and make phone calls and answer texts in a comfortable, convenient and safe environment.”