Highlighting the dangers faced by road crews, PennDOT and other agencies are reminding motorists to slow down and drive carefully in work zones. Pennsylvania’s Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, marking the unofficial start of the road construction season, runs through April 6.
“Motorists who speed, drive distracted or are simply careless when traveling in a work zone pose a great safety risk to highway workers and other drivers,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “We can prevent the needless tragedy that results from crashes in work zones if drivers pay attention and slow down.
PennDOT’s traveling Worker Memorial is on display in the lobby of the Keystone Building in Harrisburg this week. The memorial includes 83 posts topped by hard hats and draped in safety vests. Each post represents a PennDOT employee who died in the line of duty since 1970.
In 2011 there were more than 1,800 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 21 deaths including one highway worker.
“This is a very serious issue, and it is crucial that all motorists understand the importance of remaining alert and driving safely through work zones — not just for the men and women working on the roads, but for the safety of all motorists,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey. “Distracted driving is never a good idea, and it’s much more dangerous in a work zone.”
The Pennsylvania State Police provide speed enforcement in work zones on state highways. Motorists caught driving 11 miles per hour, or more, above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted of speeding, automatically lose their license for 15 days. Nearly 600 motorists had their license suspended for work zone violations last year.
“The start-up of road work season is also a good time to remind motorists about our state’s Steer Clear law,” said State Police Maj. Timothy J. Mercer.
“Whether it’s a trooper on a traffic stop or a highway work crew doing repairs on the roadway shoulder, Pennsylvania law requires that motorists either pull into the left lane when possible or slow down to give responders an extra cushion of safety.”
Information on work-zone safety laws and other tips are available under the