Work Zone Driving Safety

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Apr 10, 2019

April 8 – 12, 2019 is National Work Zone Awareness week, an annual spring campaign held at the beginning of the construction season designed to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. This year’s theme is “Drive Like You Work Here” and the key message for the campaign is to use extra caution in work zones. Over the past five years, more than 4,400 people have died in work zone crashes across the United States, with 85% of those deaths being the driver or passenger of a motor vehicle.

Work Zone Crash Facts

  • Drivers are the most frequent fatality in work zone crashes
  • Rear-end crashes are the most common type of work zone crash
  • Most work zone crashes occur on roads with speed limits of at least 50 miles per hour

PENNSYLVANIA LAWS

Posted Work Zones
Pennsylvania law requires that all motor vehicles have their headlights turned on when driving through posted work zones. Drivers with daytime running lights must turn on their headlights in order to activate their taillights.

Interstate work zones with a project cost of at least $300,000 will have a speed-monitoring device to alert drivers of their speed before entering the work zone.

Active Work Zones
Active work zones must be marked with signs to notify drivers when they enter and leave the work zone. When a work zone is active, a white flashing light will be present above a sign that states “Active Work Zone When Flashing.” The flashing light is activated only when workers are present.

WORK ZONE PENALITIES

Almost all states have laws that increase the penalty and fine for speeding and other traffic violations while in a construction work zone.

In Pennsylvania, driving dangerously will result in a fifteen-day loss of a license. Those driving 11 miles or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone and those involved in a crash in an active work zone at an unsafe speed will automatically lose their license for 15 days. Fines for other traffic violations including speeding and DUI are doubled for active work zones. Pennsylvania law also calls for up to five years of additional jail time if you are convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash in an active work zone.

In many states, the enhanced penalty is applicable only when workers are present and/or if signs are posted.

  • 24 states and D.C. require workers to be present in the construction zone for the increased penalties
  • 42 states and D.C. indicate that signs must be posted to alert drivers of the enhanced penalties

Work Zone Sign

Safe Driving Practices Both In and Out of Work Zones

  • Drive the posted work zone speed limit
  • Stay alert and pay close attention to signs and flaggers
  • Turn on your headlights
  • Don’t tailgate - maintain a safe distance around vehicles
  • Change lanes safely – only change lanes in designated areas and traffic conditions allow for a safe merge
  • Use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly
  • Avoid distractions and give your full attention to the road
  • Always buckle up
  • Be patient

For more information about National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit NWZAW.org.

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