Clearfield, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) was joined by representatives from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) this morning at an unveiling ceremony for a memorial honoring the PennDOT District 2 employees who lost their lives in the line of duty since 1970. PennDOT will permanently display it at their District 2 Office at 70 PennDOT Drive in Clearfield.
"PennDOT's priority is always the safety of its workforce and the traveling public," said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. "Despite all the precautions we take to keep everyone safe, tragedy can still strike if we forget even for a moment that safety is everyone's responsibility."
Since 1970, five PennDOT District 2 employees have lost their lives in the line of duty. Their names and the dates of their passing are as follows:
- Walter Lane, August 28, 1970
- John Coble, June 19, 1972
- Gerald Confer, September 19, 1984
- Jack Griffin, October 1, 2010
- Timothy Fitch, June 14, 2021
The traveling PennDOT Worker's Memorial was on display during the proceedings. It honors all 90 PennDOT employees killed in the line of duty across the commonwealth since 1970 when the department was established. Bradford County maintenance crews created it in 1996 following the death of their co-worker Leah Rumsey, who was struck and killed by a civilian vehicle while she was flagging in a work zone. The traveling memorial will remain in Clearfield throughout the week.
Walter Francis with AFSCME commended PennDOT and all highway workers for putting their lives at risk daily to maintain our roadway infrastructure. "We thank you for doing your part to help keep Pennsylvanians safe. We ask that drivers return the favor by slowing down, obeying the posted speed limit inside and out of work zones, avoiding distracted driving behaviors, and always buckling up.
Lieutenant Gregory Kunselman of PSP Troop C spoke about two distinct programs related to active work zones. Under Title 75, Section 3326, motorists caught by police 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 lose their license for 15 days. Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations — including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices — are doubled for active work zones. The law also 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.
Under Title 75, Section 3369, fines are allowed to be administered through the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program. Pennsylvania's AWZSE program, first implemented in March 2020, uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more using electronic speed timing devices. AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Work Zones that have an AWZSE system present and active will have unique signs in advance of the enforcement area, alerting drivers to the upcoming enforcement. Registered owners receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points are assessed to driver's licenses. For more information on the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program, including a list of projects where the units are deployed, visit https://workzonecameras.penndot.gov/.
"These programs exist to keep everyone safe on the highway," said Lieutenant Kunselman. "These aren't just the names of fallen PennDOT workers up here. They were someone's son or daughter, someone's spouse, someone's mom or dad. They deserved to come home to that family safely, but tragically they did not. We're asking everyone to take a moment to reflect on that and do their part to prevent us from adding another name to these memorials."
According to PennDOT data, in 2022 there were 1,293 work zone crashes that resulted in 14 fatalities. Additionally, PennDOT monitors work zone safety with internal reports that showed there were 171 reported intrusions in PennDOT work zones. Of those intrusions, 13 resulted in injuries to PennDOT employees. Another 57 resulted in damage to PennDOT equipment or vehicles, and 101 did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so.
For more information on work zone safety, visit www.PennDOT.pa.gov/Safety
Motorists are encouraged to "Know Before They Go" by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
Subscribe to PennDOT news in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties at www.penndot.gov/District2.
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Contact: Timothy Nebgen, email@example.com or 814.765.0598
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