|With National Work Zone Awareness Week occurring March 23-27, Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards today joined representatives from the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Traffic Safety Services Organization (ATSSA), and various traffic-control companies for an event in Harrisburg calling on motorists to drive safely in work zones and be mindful of the people behind the cones.|
To complement the awareness week, PennDOT also announced its #Slow4Zone social media campaign, which spotlights department employees and reminds drivers why it is important to pay attention and slow down in work zones.
“Work on our roadways is essential to keep people and commerce flowing, but drivers need to remember that it isn’t just equipment that they see in work zones – there are people,” Acting Secretary Richards said. “Work zones may be a temporary inconvenience, but these workers deserve our full attention and safest driving.”
Preliminary PennDOT data shows that 24 people were killed in work-zone crashes in 2014, eight more than in 2013. Since 1970, 85 PennDOT employees have died in the line of duty.
Additionally, the same data there were 1,841 crashes in work zones last year, a slight decrease from the 1,851 crashes in 2013. Over the five-year period, there were 10,586 work-zone crashes and 128 fatalities in those crashes.
In addition to crash data from police reports, PennDOT monitors work-zone safety with internal reports. In 2014, there were 131 reported intrusions in PennDOT work zones, 92 of which nearly caused injury to employees or caused damage to equipment, and 21 of which caused fleet or equipment damage. Of those intrusions, 18 resulted in injuries to PennDOT employees.
As of March 10 this year, there have been seven work-zone intrusions, with one resulting in employee injury, four causing damage to vehicles or equipment and two causing no damage or injuries.
In addition to driving safely to protect highway workers, state law requires drivers to increase their visibility and obey work-zone speed limits. Drivers who don’t turn on their headlights in posted work zones face a $25 fine. Also, motorists caught driving 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit in active work zones automatically will lose their license for 15 days.
To further underscore the importance of the lives of people working on the state’s transportation system, through the awareness week PennDOT’s #Slow4Zone initiative will feature 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 mother, 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.
Representatives from Flagger Force, Beth’s Barricades, Protection Services Inc., Rae-Lyn Enterprises and Guidemark Inc. also participated in today’s event.