Illinois Tollway and GEICO remind drivers to use Safe Phone Zones at six Oases

SCHILLER PARK, Ill. – iStar Financial Inc., with the cooperation of the Illinois Tollway, introduces GEICO as the new sponsor of the Illinois Tollway oases "Safe Phone Zone" program. The oasis service plaza facilities are designated as Safe Phone Zones as part of a nationwide effort to reduce distracted driving by encouraging drivers to pull into safe, convenient locations to use their smartphones for calling, texting and accessing mobile apps.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and GEICO wants to remind travelers and commuters to wait to talk or text, and stop at any of the six Safe Phone Zone oases operated by iStar Financial Inc., located throughout the Tollway system.

Safe Phone Zones include:

  • 4 locations on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) at Lake Forest, O'Hare, Hinsdale and Chicago Southland Lincoln in South Holland
  • the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) in Belvidere
  • the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) in DeKalb.

For a map of oases locations, visit the Illinois Tollway's website at www.illinoistollway.com.

The Safe Phone Zone program promotes safe places for drivers to use their mobile devices, with ample seating and free Wi-Fi inside the oasis pavilions. Highway signs on the property designate the oases as Safe Phone Zones and serve as a reminder not to text and drive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ), distracted driving includes activities like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies, including navigation systems, can also be sources of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction, which include:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel;
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

GEICO encourages safe driving and offers tips on its GEICO More branded content hub for ways to avoid distracted driving, in addition to other helpful resources including auto safety, motorcycle safety, severe weather and travel safety, as well as information on teen driving.

"Safe Phone Zones in Illinois could help prevent the growing number of injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving," said Don Robinson, GEICO vice president of Midwest operations. "GEICO is proud to partner with iStar Financial Inc. and the Illinois Tollway system to provide these Safe Phone Zones throughout the state where drivers can safely take a break and carry out their phone calls and check their texts and emails."

For their part, iStar Financial Inc. is contributing the use of the Tollway Oases for this program. iStar Financial Inc. is excited to support the State of Illinois and the Illinois Tollway safe driving initiatives by contributing its leased premises as safe, inviting, and productive areas to the Illinois toll road patrons. Providing Safe Phone Zones and enticing distracted drivers to stop is paramount to the safety of the driving public.

In addition to encouraging use of the Safe Phone Zones, the Tollway reminds customers that the oases service plazas located along the Tollway system also provide drivers an opportunity to check their vehicles, obtain fuel or simply take a break. The oases offer a variety of services for travelers and provide access to retail shops, restaurants, spacious food courts, panoramic windows, kid-friendly spaces and free Wi-Fi services.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 15 million private passenger customers, insuring more than 24 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

For more information, go to www.geico.com.