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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 12:43 GMT
Text SOS for stranded drivers
Motorway phones
An army of new phones will go up on hard shoulders
New emergency phones with text messaging and better access for the disabled are being installed on motorway hard shoulders.

The highly-visible orange plastic phones, which are being built by Nottingham firm Jasmin Simtec Plc, are to replace the current outdated SOS phones.

The firm is making 6,500 to cover the entire country, including the M1 through the East Midlands, which is costing 12m of government money.

Old phone
The old phones were put in 25 years ago
The Highways Agency, which has paid for the phones, said they are needed despite most people owning mobile phones.

Phil Graham, from the Highways Agency, said: "The agency wanted to cater for people who don't have mobile phones together with the fact that you might not have a signal in the area.

"Also, you may have forgotten your phone maybe or your battery has gone flat."

There is a text-messaging system to help with foreign language speakers and for people with hearing difficulties.

They are also more visible and have better sound quality than the current phones which were introduced 25 years ago.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Chris Mills
"Do we really need them?"

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14 May 99 | UK
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