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Pennsylvania's higher speed limits worry construction workers

With the state of Pennsylvania set to increase the speed limit on a number of highways, construction workers are beginning to express concerns for their safety. On some of the state's interstate highways, Pennsylvania plans to raise the speed limit to 70 mph. The state also plans to increase some work zone speed limits to 55 mph.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 249 people have been killed in highway work zones in the last decade. Pennsylvania sees a higher than average number of deaths in highway construction work zones. The state has witnessed 21 such fatalities since 2012, and those fatalities included three construction workers.

While many workers are uncomfortable with the idea of higher speed limits, officers have suggested that they will take measures to limit speeding in work zones by increasing patrols and taking other steps. However, in recent interviews with one news outlet, workers still claim that individuals traveling at 55 mph can still cause serious damage in a collision.

Accidents at the site of highway construction can be lethal due to the rate of speed and mass of the vehicles that might strike a worker. For every fatality on the job, many more are victims of a workplace injury. Highway construction workers operate in a particularly hazardous environment, surrounded by heavy equipment and vehicles moving at a high rate of speed. They also work long hours in conditions where they are exposed to the elements. This combination of factors also can lead to cut corners and everyday mistakes.

It can be easy to dismiss an incident that occurs at the workplace as something that just happened, but workers should give some consideration to discussing their injuries with a lawyer. A lawyer may be able help a client understand if he or she is entitled benefits under workers' compensation.

Source: WNEP, "Highway Construction Workers Nervous About Higher Speed Limits", Dave Bohman, July 24, 2014

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