The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) recently issued a news release urging drivers to watch for workers during the busy construction season. The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C. in Reading wanted to share a portion of this important, and timely, message:
” Following the June 1 death of a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission worker in a work-zone crash and reports of public vehicles entering work zones or narrowly missing workers, PennDOT and the commission today called on drivers to use caution and obey laws in work zones.
‘There will be a lot of construction work this year because of our transportation plan, so PennDOT and other roadway workers will be a common sight,’ PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. ‘These are men and women who are working literally inches from passing traffic – it’s a very important, but very dangerous job.’
Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton noted that there are very real consequences when people choose to drive distracted or speed through work zones.
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Through June 23 this year, PennDOT has reported 10 incidents resulting in staff injury or equipment damage, as well as 32 “near misses” due to public vehicles inappropriately entering work zones or disobeying flaggers or traffic control devices. This year has already surpassed the 18 near misses reported in 2013, which also saw 44 staff-injury or equipment-damage reports.
Through June 10 this year, the Turnpike Commission estimates there have been approximately 15 incidents resulting in staff injury or equipment damage and about 20 “near misses” due to traffic entering work zones or disobeying traffic-control devices.
Since the department’s creation in 1970, 84 PennDOT employees have lost their lives in the line of duty. [The recent tragedy] marked the Turnpike Commission’s 34th worker fatality since the turnpike opened in 1940.
In addition to causing some worker deaths, data shows that unsafe driving in work zones also impacts drivers themselves. According to PennDOT data, in 2013, there were more than 1,800 crashes in Pennsylvania work zones, an increase from the more than 1,600 work-zone crashes in 2012. Sixteen people were killed in work-zone crashes in 2013, five fewer than in 2012.
For more information on work zone safety tips and laws, visit the ‘Work Zone’ information center at www.JustDrivePA.com.”
(Source: PennDOT, News Release, July 7, 2014).
We need to do our part to ensure the safety of the men and women working on Pennsylvania’s roads. Please use caution and obey laws in work zones.
Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C. has been representing the injured in Reading, Pottsville and throughout Pennsylvania for over 50 years.
From the desk of Andrew F. Fick, Esquire