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Call Boxes To Be Removed From Florida’s Interstates

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Florida is removing about 3,000 call boxes from its interstates because of inadequate technology and low usage.

Gina Busscher, Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said most people don’t use call boxes anymore because of cellphones.

“Most everybody these days has that cellphone in their hand, so they are able to call if they break down or need police help,” Busscher said.

Last year, call boxes on I-75 were used about 3,300 times, she said, and the ones on I-4 were not used at all.

The state will remove the current mile markers that stand in place with the call boxes, and new mile markers will be installed by January 2014.

Travelers of I-75 have mixed emotions about the removal.

Tony Venturella, a visitor from Tennessee, said call boxes are helpful if a driver’s cellphone battery dies.

“If someone were to break down and be stranded on the road, that could be a lifeline that could save a life,” Venturella said.

Stan Kinnaman, a frequent traveler of I-75, said he thinks having voice communication is most important when traveling.

“If you’re in need of that (voice communication) and you’re in the middle of call boxes, you would be better off if you have a cellphone, using it,” Kinnaman said.

FDOT is not planning to create a new updated call system, but cameras have been installed to monitor the interstates and traffic sensory systems to foresee possible accidents and traffic disturbances.

Barbara Packer-Muti, another frequent I-75 traveler, said travelers no longer have a back-up security system and in a perfect world, they would have cellphones and call boxes available.

“I understand it, but I don’t think it’s enough of a reason to take them away,” she said.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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