Pennsylvania Turnpike call boxes fall victim to cellphones

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Turnpike has begun removing more than 1,000 emergency roadside call boxes because too few people use them now that nearly everyone has a cellphone.

The turnpike commission said it will save about $250,000 a year by removing the boxes, which should be gone by the end of the month.

The boxes were installed in 1988 and in the year 2000, motorists used them more than 18,000 times to call for help. Last year, the boxes were used only 772 times.

The turnpike's chief operating officer, Craig Shuey, said cellphones are safer, too, because motorists can remain in their vehicles while calling for help instead of standing along the side of the road as traffic passes.

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