Workers who are stationed on Pennsylvania roadways doing maintenance, repairs and improvements are vulnerable to being hit by passing vehicles. This has long been a challenge that legislators and law enforcement sought to address. The most recent attempt involved targeting drivers who speed in these areas.
While various steps have been taken to penalize work zone speeders, the problem persists. Since this is such a known issue, it is important to prioritize safety. After an accident, it is also essential to think about the problems that will arise and know the available options.
Law enforcement initiative records and tracks vehicle speed in work zones
Pennsylvania lawmakers’ concern over work zone safety became pronounced in 2018 after there were more than 1,800 work zone accidents that year. A law was passed to try and reduce their number.
In March 2020, a new program called Automated Work Zone Enforcement went into effect. Cameras were placed in work zones on prominent roads to catch drivers who were speeding. This was necessary because there is limited police manpower to watch these areas and catch every driver who exceeds the speed limit and commits other reckless acts.
The cameras photograph vehicles that are 11 miles per hour over the work zone speed limit. Drivers are warned about the cameras as an added incentive to slow down. The recordings are reviewed by law enforcement and drivers can be cited.
Since the program started, there have been almost 964,000 citations given. While this is a preventative measure, it is also indicative of how many drivers are simply ignoring the work zone speed limits and are unconcerned about the cameras. Five percent of drivers who were cited received at least three such citations.
Even with the crackdown, dangers persist and people need to know their rights
The strategy yielded improved safety results in work zones from its start. In 2020, there was a 19% reduction in work zone accidents. Deaths lowered by 6%. Anecdotally, workers say drivers are slowing down more than they did in the past.
Despite that, there is an inherent danger for road crews who are simply trying to do their jobs safely, not wanting to worry about being hit by a speeding vehicle while doing so.
People who are confronted with medical costs or lost time at work due to injuries and families who have lost a loved one due to driver recklessness should consider how to move forward. Discussing the matter with experienced professionals who understand personal injury and the complex laws that involve car crashes, work injuries and construction law can be helpful.