WOODBRDIGE -- New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials unveiled a smartphone application Tuesday as part of their Reinventing Safety 365 program aimed at improving the safety of motorists on the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

Developed with the state Department of Transportation, the free application, SafeTripNJ, is available for download for iPhone and Androids. Tied to alerts from traffic information center 511nj.org, the application plays audible driving alerts for roads throughout the state, including the parkway, turnpike and Atlantic City Expressway.

“If you’re approaching an area where there’s something you need to be alerted about, the alert will play out loud,” NJTA spokesman Tom Feeney said. “It’s already available. It’s operational, and we encourage people to use it.”

Motorists can select the radius and frequency with which they wish to receive alerts. Officials stressed that the application is hands-free and should not distract drivers.

The authority also presented a new Facebook page Tuesday where motorists can find advisories for traffic, weather and construction, as well as information about upcoming board meetings and pending projects. Historical information about the roads and photos from recent projects also will be posted on the page.

Officials said the audio-based smartphone application was developed with the Facebook page because the authority did not want drivers attempting to access Facebook for road alerts while driving.

Delivering real-time information to drivers is intended to help increase safety on the authority’s roads. The authority undertook the initiative last year after state DOT Commissioner James Simpson expressed concern about the number of young motorists in fatal accidents on the parkway.

Later this year, as part of Reinventing Safety 365, the authority will continue with plans to increase driver education efforts with outreach to students at local colleges, Feeney said.

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