New PA alerts to notify drivers of major highway backups and shutdowns

Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said he believes the system is the first of its kind in the nation.

The app will alert drivers in PA about highway emergencies.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are rolling out an emergency notification system to let motorists stranded in accident backups get updates to their cell phones about aid and cleanup efforts.

The notifications will come through the 511PA mobile app. 

The system was developed after this past January’s blizzard that stranded more than 500 drivers on the turnpike.

Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said Thursday that he believes the system is the first of its kind in the nation. He also says communication gaps are a major problem during such backups.

“Direct communication with the folks who are involved allowed us to size up the scene, the amount of vehicles, and the types of vehicles that are involved, which will lead to much butter response time and situational awareness,” Compton said.

People in the vicinity of a potential long-term accident stoppage on a roadway with limited access will get an emergency notification allowing them to register for the updates.

That’s as long as they haven’t turned off notifications on their cell phones.

Registering will give emergency managers information about a motorist’s location and vehicle. People who don’t register can still see the updates on http://www.511pa.com.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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