Trinity Mount Ministries

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amber Alert highway signs in Massachusetts not just for missing children:


By Fred Contrada, The Republican
on December 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM, updated December 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Amber alert signs 2012.jpg   This is one of the new electronic signs along Interstate 91 indented to warn motorists when there is an Amber Alert. This sign hangs over the southbound lanes near the Birnie Avenue exit.   

NORTHAMPTON – Motorists are grateful for the information broadcast on highway signs associated with Amber Alerts, even when the message has nothing to do with a missing child, some Western Massachusetts residents say.

The electronic signs have been issuing information on missing children in Massachusetts since at least 2005, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The Amber Alter is named after Amber Hagerman, a child who was abducted and killed in 1996.

The state Amber Alert law went into effect in 2002. It states that when a child is determined by state police to be missing and in danger, information is disseminated over the airwaves and 91 electronic signs posted along Massachusetts highways. Thirteen of those signs are along Interstate 91, another four on Route 290.

According to Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Department of Transporation>, the department rotates eight public safety messages on the signs when there is not an Amber Alert. These include fog and storm warnings,construction notices and reminders to wear seat belts and not to text while driving.

Amber Alerts include descriptions of the missing children and available information about any vehicle that might be involved in the abduction.

“We do our best to put information out to drivers in the most efficient and effective way,” Verseckes said.
Ambert Alerts can be few and far between. The last one posted on highway signs was on Oct. 31, according to Verseckes. Motorists who drive the highways say they find messages such as weather advisories useful.
“It can be helpful, to people, especially when they’re traveling,” said Caitlin Leverin, who lives in the Berkshires and was visiting Northampton this week.

Mallory Romanovitch, who was also visiting Northampton from Connecticut, said the notices can be useful or distracting, depending on where they’re located.

“If it suddenly comes into your point of view, it can be a distraction,” she said.

Peter Baid of Northampton said the traffic advisories serve a purpose for him.

“It’s important to know what the traffic is,” he said. “At least I’ll know what to do.”

Kenneth Jodrie, who commutes daily between Northampton and Chicopee, said the weather and traffic advisories are no more distracting than the Amber Alerts, which can contain a lot of information.

“The whole thing is visual pollution anyway,” Jodrie said. “They should eliminate them altogether.”
Join Trinity Mount Family on Twitter:

No comments:

Post a Comment