Much of my gray hair appeared when I taught both my boys how to drive through “cattle chutes” or barriers in work zones on the highway.
I’m still not a fan of driving through them myself and am amazed when large tractor-trailers go through them with ease.
April 11-15 is National Work Zone Awareness Week – a week “designated to highlight the critical importance of safe driving through work zones. The theme of this year’s NWZAW is ‘Work Zones Are a Sign to Slow Down,’” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
PennDOT said, as the weather improves, travelers through the state can expect to see more work zones as crews are busy improving the 40,000 miles of roadway and 25,000 bridges in Pennsylvania.
According to PennDOT, since the start of Pennsylvania’s Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program in March 2020, more than 640,000 notices of violation have been issued. This program uses portable automated speed enforcement systems to enforce excessive speeding.
During 2021’s primary construction months (April-November), speeding in enforced work zones was reduced to 20 percent of all traffic and excessive speeding was reduced to 3 percent.
A reduction of more than 100 crashes annually has occurred. Measured speed reductions have been observed in enforced work zones, with smaller reductions at times when no enforcement is present.
Fatal crashes in Pennsylvania work zones continue with an approximate 25-percent reduction. In 2021, there were 1,617 crashes in work zones on Pennsylvania roadways, with 45.9 percent containing fatalities or injuries. There were 816 injured persons resulting from work zone crashes and 15 persons fatally injured, with one of the fatalities being a worker within the work zone.
In 2021, the program issued 424,778 violations. Of the issued notices, 15.3 percent were repeat violators, incurring fines for second and subsequent violations of the statute.
For a first violation, the notice carries no financial penalty and is a written warning. For a second violation, the notice carries a $75 fine. For third and all subsequent violations, the notice carries a $150 fine. These penalties are civil in nature, with no criminal implications. Points will not be assessed against your driver’s license for any automated work zone speed limit violations.
Many years ago, I visited the Tioga County Welcome Center, where there was a PennDOT Worker’s Memorial on display. It showed the many PennDOT workers who had died as a result of crashes while on the job.
This sobering memorial is a reminder of how we can do our part to slow down in work zones; the workers are people just like us, doing their job and hoping to go home to their families after work. Take your time – speeding through a work zone will not get you where you are going any faster.
Let’s work together to keep everyone safe.
East Penn Press
PRESS PHOTOS BY DEBBIE GALBRAITH The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Worker’s Memorial can be found on display at many rest stops and welcome centers throughout Pennsylvania.
This Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Worker’s Memorial is found at the Tioga County Welcome Center during a recent stop.