The Stop Lights from Newark

by Charles McGrath


The New Jersey Bell Telephone Company had its headquarters located at 540 Broad Street. This company was part of the Bell System and I am proud to say I was part of it for 37 years. It was the best of the best! No question about it in my mind.

This company was one of the largest employers in the City of Newark and on a statewide level they employed around 30,000 people.

They spent a tremendous amount of time and money protecting their employees. Safety was an integral part of the job. We would spend one hour a week with each employee on safety lessons and training. New Jersey Bell recommended the use of automobile seatbelts to our employees before Detroit did. On a state level our motor vehicle fleet was second only to the State of New Jersey's fleet.

The next time you see a telephone vehicle take notice to the safety traffic cone that is placed behind every parked vehicle. We have been doing that for almost 30 years. The purpose of the cone is to force the driver to look behind the rear of his vehicle before operating it.

Around 25 years ago one of our employees came up with the idea of putting a stoplight on the bottom of the rear window. This presented the stoplight at eye level in stop and goes driving. Eventually Detroit caught on to the idea and made it standard equipment on all vehicles.

The next time you are driving in traffic take notice to the car in front of you. When his stoplights go on remember two things. One you came from Newark and so did the idea for the elevated stoplights.


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