HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards has urged motorists to obey work zone speed limits and drive safely around workers on roadways this construction season.
“Work zone safety remains a top priority for the department, and all highway employees deserve the public’s full attention and safest driving,” Richards said. “Emphasizing how important this is, last year Governor Wolf signed into law stiffer penalties for violating work-zone laws or injuring or killing workers.”
PennDOT data shows that 23 people were killed in work-zone crashes in 2015, one less than in 2014. Additionally, there were 1,935 crashes in work zones last year, an increase from 1,848 crashes in 2014. Over the last five years, there were 9,117 work-zone crashes and 105 fatalities in those crashes.
In addition to crash data from police reports, PennDOT monitors work-zone safety with internal reports. In 2015, there were 135 reported intrusions in PennDOT work zones. Of those work zone intrusions, 11 resulted in injuries to PennDOT employees, 41 caused damage to PennDOT fleet or equipment, and 92 did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so.
As of March 31 this year, there have been 13 work-zone intrusions, with three resulting in employee injury, five causing damage to vehicles or equipment and eight causing no damage or injuries.
Pennsylvania law states that anyone violating the posted speed limit by more than 5 mph will face doubled fines. The fine is determined based on the amount the driver is traveling over the speed limit.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law, effective May 24, 2016, that says 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.
In addition, drivers who don’t turn on their headlights in posted work zones face a $25 fine.
Since 1970, 86 PennDOT employees have died in the line of duty. To further underscore the importance of the lives of people working on the state’s transportation system, through Work Zone Awareness Week which runs from April 11-15, PennDOT will continue its #Slow4Zone initiative featuring employees from across the state who have witnessed or been injured in work-zone crashes, or who have a message for motorists. The campaign emphasizes that each employee is a parent, youth mentor or family member who wants to get home safely each day.
To view the employee testimonials in the campaign visit the “Work Zone” information center at www.JustDrivePA.com. Join the discussion on social media by using #Slow4Zone in posts.
To join the nationwide Work Zone Awareness Week conversation on social media, use #NWZAWeek2016 or #SafetyFashion to see what transportation employees across the country are wearing to keep themselves safe.