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HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Next week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, and Pennsylvania officials are urging drivers to be careful as construction season approaches.
According to preliminary data from PennDOT, there were over 1,600 work zone crashes in 2021, resulting in 15 fatalities. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 90 workers in the line of duty.
Officials are reminding motorists of the consequences that come if caught speeding in an active work zone. Drivers speeding 11 mph 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 for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically lose their license for 15 days.
Fines for violations like speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices are doubled for active work zones.
Fines are also allowed to be administered through the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program (AWZSE), where vehicle-mounted technology can detect speeding.
“Increased penalties in work zones and the implementation of the AWZSE program have made Pennsylvania’s work zones safer,” said Major Robert Krol, Director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “The PSP is committed to supporting safety across Pennsylvania’s roadways,” Krol added.
As weather warms and Pennsylvania begins another construction season, officials are urging drivers to be cautious as crews work to improve roads and bridges.
“And while that means orange barrels, it also means improve roads and bridges. But construction season also too often means hazards for the men and women who are delivering these benefits,” said PennDOT Secretary Yasmin Gramian. “Everyone deserves to get home safely. Please slow down and pay attention while driving, especially in work zones, where roadway conditions can change on a daily basis,” she added.
“Our crews are doing their jobs, day in and day out, mere inches from live traffic,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Our colleagues have been injured and lives have been taken when drivers do not pay attention to construction signage, respect posted speeds or maintain a safe distance,” he added.
More information on work zone safety is available here. National Work Zone Awareness Week runs April 11-15.
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