WASHINGTON - The little green GEICO gecko will be popping up on signs across Virginia on Thursday.
The insurance company will pay Virginia to sponsor all 43 rest stops on interstate highways over the next three years. The contract will help defray the $21 million cost of maintaining the rest stops, 19 of which were temporarily closed two years ago due to lack of funds.
Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tamara Rollison says it's part of an effort to keep cell phones out of drivers' hands.
"The signs will emphasize the safe phone zone, the name of the rest area and there will be an image of the GEICO lizard," she says.
But the state will only take in $2 million a year from both the sponsorship and some enhanced vending services, including ATM machines.
The signs were put up and covered prior to Thursday's announcement.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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