Each year when the weather improves, Pennsylvanians and travelers through the state can anticipate seeing many work zones. While PennDOT and its industry partners are busy improving the 40,000 miles of roadway and 25,000 bridges in its care, we urge motorists to keep safety in mind.
In an effort to educate young drivers on the importance of work zone safety, PennDOT has created the "Just Drive: Work Zone Smart" educational video. This video includes information on Pennsylvania´s work zone laws, as well as important reminders on how to stay safe while traveling in work zones. Watch or download the video.
Work Zone Safety Tips
If you encounter our work zones, please keep the following tips in mind for your safety and the safety of highway workers.
- Drive the posted work-zone speed limit.
- Stay alert and pay close attention to signs and flaggers.
- Turn on your headlights if signs instruct you to do so.
- Maintain a safe distance around vehicles. Don’t tailgate.
- Use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly.
- Avoid distractions and give your full attention to the road.
- Always buckle up.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Be patient.
Work Zone Laws
Pennsylvania’s work zone safety laws are designed to protect both highway workers and motorists.
Posted Work Zones:
Headlights On. All motorists are required to travel with their headlights turned on in all posted work zones, not just active work zones. It is necessary for drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights to turn on their headlights in order to activate their taillights.
Speed-Monitoring Devices. Interstate work zones with a project cost exceeding $300,000 will have a speed-monitoring device to alert motorists of their speed prior to entering the work zone.
Active Work Zones
Posting of Active Work Zones. Active work zones must be designated as such to notify motorists when they enter and leave the work zone. A white flashing light attached to the “Active Work Zone When Flashing” sign will indicate an active work zone. The flashing light will only be activated when workers are present and turned off when workers are not present.
Fifteen-Day Loss of License for Driving Dangerously. Motorists caught driving 11 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically will lose their license for 15 days.
Fines Doubled/Jail Time Increased. Fines for certain traffic violations – including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices – are doubled for active work zones. Also, the law provides for up to five years of additional jail time for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash that occurred in an active work zone.
In 2011, 571 motorists had their license suspended for work-zone violations.
PennDOT is truly grateful for the dedicated workers who put their lives at risk every day to improve and maintain Pennsylvania´s infrastructure. Sadly, 84 PennDOT employees have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1970. Memorials have been erected around the state to pay tribute to those employees.
There is a statewide memorial located in downtown Harrisburg, as well as a traveling memorial based out of PennDOT District 3´s Bradford County Maintenance Office. PennDOT´s District 4 office, which covers northeast Pennsylvania, recently dedicated a permanent memorial for its local workers who lost their lives.
These memorials emphasize the fact that the safety of workers in a work zone is truly dependent on each and every motorist.