In April, PennDOT joined the PA Turnpike, Pennsylvania State Police, and Associated Pennsylvania Constructors to urge motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week. The week is designated to encourage safe driving through work zones and this year's theme was "You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us."
"Safety is PennDOT's most important priority," said PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary Cheryl Moon-Sirianni. "We implement many safety measures in our work zones, for the safety of both our workers and motorists, but we need drivers to work with us to ensure work zones are safe for everyone. Slow down and never drive distracted, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change every day. Only by working together can we keep everyone safe."
The PennDOT and PA Turnpike worker memorials were on display during the event to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives while improving and maintaining Pennsylvania's infrastructure. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 90 workers in the line of duty. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1940.
According to PennDOT data, in 2022 there were 1,293 work zone crashes, resulting in 14 fatalities.
In addition to crash data, internal work zone safety reports show there were 171 reported intrusions in PennDOT work zones last year. Of those work zone intrusions, 13 resulted in injuries to PennDOT employees, while 57 only caused damage to PennDOT equipment. The remaining 101 intrusions did not result in injury or damage, but they had the potential to do so.
Many precautions are taken in work zones to keep workers safe, including proper training and routine safety inspections for workers, enhanced signing and information for motorists, and the use of positive protective equipment like crash trucks, barriers, and rumble strips.
Drivers also play a role in keeping workers, themselves, and other motorists safe while traveling through work zones. Earlier this year, PennDOT workers and their families volunteered to help make a work zone safety video to get the message out that everyone deserves to get home safely.
Please, slow down and pay attention to the dads, moms, sons, and daughters – and MeeMaws and papas – who are working to improve our roads.
Together, we can keep our workers safe because safety is everyone's responsibility.