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For Immediate Release: 03/01/2012
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office
(617) 973-8472

MassDOT Announces Tunnel Emergency Awareness Campaign
Informational Brochure and Digital Billboards Debut Today

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, alongside its public safety partners, today rolled out a public awareness campaign to inform motorists of the steps they should take in the event of an accident or breakdown inside the Metropolitan Highway System Tunnels.

"Drivers finding themselves involved in a crash, or stuck in a disabled vehicle, need to know the safest plan is to remain in their car until help arrives," MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey said.

Along with encouraging drivers to remain in their vehicles, the campaign reminds drivers that video streams of the tunnel system are monitored 24/7 by MassDOT’s Highway Operations Center. State Police are ready to respond to tunnel incidents within minutes.

To increase tunnel emergency awareness, an informational brochure is being handed out for the first time today at toll plazas on the Tobin Bridge, the Airport Tunnels and the Allston/Brighton plaza. Fast Lane customers will receive this information via email as part of their monthly statements. Also, billboards with tunnel awareness tips are now in rotation on the digital boards along I-93 in Medford and Stoneham.

The awareness campaign was created in the wake of the death of a motorist inside the O'Neill Tunnel on November 26, 2011.

"The tragic November event caused us to think about how we can widely get this safety message into the consciousness of every driver using our tunnels. The billboards, brochures and this announcement are a good start," MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola said.

Other tips for drivers include: pulling to the side of the road, activating hazard flashing lights and calling 911. If there is fire, drivers should turn off the engine and immediately exit the vehicle.

"Education and awareness can go a long way toward preventing future tragedies. I applaud MassDOT for its work on this campaign and its continued efforts to enhance and promote public safety" said Representative William Straus, Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, www.mass.gov/tunnelsafety, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.