New Driver Warning System Used in Howard Franklin Bridge Project

May 07, 1999, 01:00 ET from Safety Warning System, L.C.

    ENGLEWOOD, Fla., May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Motorists traveling across Tampa's
 Howard Franklin Bridge will be better informed of construction activities,
 thanks to a revolutionary new warning and messaging technology being used by
 the Florida Department of Transportation.
     The Safety Warning System(R) (SWS) is a microwave-based technology made up
 of a transmitter and a receiver.  The transmitters can broadcast over
 60 messages to drivers who use Safety Warning receivers, which display the
 message as text or announce it using a synthesized voice.  Over 8 million
 SWS(R)-enabled radar detectors have been purchased by motorists nationwide,
 according to Safety Warning System, L.C., an Englewood-based organization
 overseeing development of the technology.
     The message drivers will receive as they cross the bridge carrying
 Interstate 275 across Old Tampa Bay is, "Highway Work Crews Ahead."  Beginning
 Sunday, May 9, construction will occur during nighttime hours each day of the
 week except Friday and Saturday.
     Because Safety Warning transmitters use the same frequency as police
 traffic radar's K band, motorists with conventional radar detectors also will
 receive an alert, but without the messaging capability.  SWS receivers without
 the radar detection function are expected to begin appearing soon on the
     Motorists will receive the SWS alert at three different points -- about a
 mile and a half before the construction area begins, at 1,500 feet before
 traffic merges into a single lane and midway through the work area.
     Radar speed displays, a new generation of variable message signs and
 police presence also will be used in a comprehensive effort to inform drivers
 of active work zones, both to protect motorists and workers but also to comply
 with a new Florida law allowing speeding fines to be doubled only when
 construction zones are "active" and workers are present in them.  The new
 trailer-mounted message boards will flash the speed of approaching drivers
 traveling above the work area's posted speed limit, along with the message,
 "Fines Doubled, Reduce Speed."
     This new comprehensive messaging system is the result of the work of a
 task team formed by the Florida Department of Transportation that has been
 working on better methods of making drivers aware of work zones.  The system
 is expected to be used on a variety of types of work zones on interstate
 highways and other expressways.
     "The aim of this new messaging approach is to 'reach out' farther and in
 new ways to get drivers to slow down and pay closer attention as they enter
 work zones," said Janice Lee of Safety Warning System, L.C.  "We are very
 pleased that the Safety Warning System(R) can be an integral part of this
 project, and we expect the technology to play a key role in improving
 work-zone safety."
     Safety Warning transmitters can be used in a wide variety of applications,
 ranging from railroad crossings and school zones to emergency vehicles and
 fog-obscured roads.  Transmitters are in use in at least half the states in
 the U.S. and three foreign countries.

SOURCE Safety Warning System, L.C.