Texas DOT Using Wi-Fi as an Enticement to Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents
To encourage drivers to take more frequent breaks, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) wants to set up free wireless Internet access at rest stops and travel information centers, according to the Associated Press.The department plans to choose a vendor in July. The chosen company won't be paid, however, to provide the free access. TxDOT, which says Texas is the first state to provide such free access at rest areas, began experimenting with Wi-Fi hotspots last fall.“The feedback we've received so far has been very positive,'' said Andy Keith, manager of TxDOT's maintenance division. “Texas' highways are seeing an increasing number of business travelers, truckers, and RVers and access to e-mail is important to them.”Keith said there are also plans to install special kiosks where motorists can access Internet-enabled computers with the swipe of a credit card. A price hasn't been set.Keith said the state hopes to reduce fatigue-related accidents by encouraging drivers to stop more often. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1,500 people die annually in fatigue-related crashes in United States.