The Wolf Administration, PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Association of Pennsylvania Constructors gathered this week in Harrisburg to kick off Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.
PennDOT data shows that 16 people were killed in work-zone crashes in 2016 which is down from 23 in 2015. However, there was an increase in work zone crashes this past year (2,075 in 2016 up from 1,935 in 2015). Over the last five years, work zone crashes have been occurring at an average of 1,872 a year. Those work zone crashes have also been responsible for around 20 fatalities a year. This data includes both PennDot workers and non-workers. When looking at just PennDot worker deaths alone, 87 PennDOT employees have died in the line of duty since 1970.
“Work zone safety continues to be a top priority of the department,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We all hope to help change driver behavior and raise awareness so all of us, highway workers and motorists alike, get home safely every day.”
Many accidents that occur on roadway work zones can be avoided. Many of the accidents in these work zones are the result of distracted and speeding drivers. Negligent driving puts your own life, other drivers, and roadway workers in danger of death or serious harm.
“So, we urge drivers to be on the lookout for orange cones and yellow vests, and we remind drivers that state police will be on the lookout for work-zone speeders.” said PA Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey.
Under Pennsylvania law, anyone who violates the posted speed limit by greater than 5 mph will face doubled fines. Last year, Governor Wolf signed a law which states that any driver who causes serious bodily injury within a work zone could face up to $5,000 in fines and a six-month license suspension. A driver causing a death within a work zone would face up to a $10,000 fine and one-year license suspension. Additionally drivers who don’t turn on their headlights in posted work zones face a $25 fine.
For more information on work zone safety visit, penndot.gov/safety
Tips for Driving Safely in Work Zones
- Slow Downwhen approaching work zones.
- Turn on Headlights even during the day so that the workers can see you better
- Stay Alert. Pay attention to sudden stops, watch for workers, their equipment, and other dangers
- Pay Attention to posted signs and the flow of traffic
- Don’t Use Cell Phones in Work Zones. Cell phone use should be avoid at all times while driving but can be especially dangerous when driving in work zones
- Allow Adequate Space between you and the car in front of you
- Don’t Resume Normal Speed until you see the proper posted signs signifying it’s safe to do so.