Motorist's death prompts investigation into Massachusetts call boxes

| 7/7/2006

Massachusetts officials are under fire for the lack of upkeep of their roadside call boxes after a holiday weekend accident claimed a man’s life.

According to the Boston Herald, motorist Tony Raucci was struck by another vehicle and killed Friday, June 30, along the side of the road on Interstate 93.

Raucci – who was traveling with his wife and son – was reportedly putting a tire jack back in the trunk of his vehicle when he was hit, minutes after trying unsuccessfully to call for help on two different roadside call boxes, his wife told the media.

In a surprising response to the incident, Massachusetts Highway Department spokesman Jon Carlisle said the call boxes, which use a one-way calling system that does not alert the stranded motorist as to whether state police received their call, should not be used as a motorist’s main line of communication during an emergency.

“Recognizing the prevalence of cell phones and the dangers of walking on an interstate highway, we urge that personal phones be used as the primary communication tool for roadway incidents and emergencies,” Carlisle told the Herald.

Carlisle said his department is investigating whether the call boxes Raucci tried to use were malfunctioning at the time of the incident.