A sign urging motorists not to text and drive was unveiled Friday in Flanders in memory of a Hampton Bays woman killed by a driver texting at the wheel three years ago.
The “Please Don’t Text and Drive” sits in front of a parking area on Rte. 24, not far from where Barbara Tocci was killed by a PSEG Long Island worker in January 2014.
Drivers can pull into the parking area to rest and send a text, said Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Sag Harbor), who worked with the Tocci family on the sign.
The project took a year and a half because it had to be determined whether the sign would belong to the state or the county, Fleming said.
“It’s just a common-sense solution to a very serious problem at this location,” Fleming said. “This pull-off is a good place to get rid of your distractions before you get back on the road.”
Fleming credited Tocci’s sister Susan Tocci, a member of the Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association, with working to get the job done.
“We don’t want any of our community members, friends, family or anyone else to go through the pain that our family has experienced and is still experiencing,” Susan Tocci said. “If we can just even get one person to pull off this road and save their life so their family doesn’t experience this, then this was all worth the work that it took to get this project implemented.”
Before being designated a texting stop, the area was seen as a nuisance with trash cans constantly overflowing, Fleming said during the ceremony.
Tocci’s father, Philip Tocci, said he was glad to see the area being used in a positive way.
“They were going to close this place down and put grass here,” he said. “But they fought for it and dedicated this texting area to Barbara and it keeps her memory alive.”