New Legislation Protecting Pennsylvania Highway Workers
September 8, 2015
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are reviewing multiple provisions to discourage speeding in highway work zones. The first is a five-year pilot program to install cameras at work sites. Speeding drivers caught on camera would be issued a $100 citation. Another proposed bill would heighten the penalties for endangering workers on the road, with fines up to $10,000 and a mandatory one-year license suspension if a worker is killed. The measures could not come sooner, as Pennsylvania is rolling out a $2.3 billion transportation funding law that will increase the number of crews on the state’s roadways.
Recent incidents have made work zone safety a priority for Pennsylvania legislators. In 2014, there were 24 work-zone crash fatalities in Pennsylvania. A work zone crash in Bucks County in May injured four workers and killed the driver. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike alone, more than 30 workers have been killed since 1940. In addition to work zone cameras, lawmakers are considering putting cameras in other danger zones, such as school crossings, as well as enabling police to use radar to catch speeding drivers and raising penalties for using hand-held devices while driving.
Plan has Advantages and Disadvantages
Installing cameras at work zones would help ease the burden on state troopers, who are already stretched thin, to police those areas. The proposal specifies that cameras would only be activated when the work site is operational, and drivers would be warned before they pass through. The hope is that the threat of a fine would deter drivers from engaging in reckless behaviors in these zones. An increased number of citations would also increase revenue, which would be used to enhance work zone safety measures and put more troopers on the highway.
Opponents of the legislation are concerned that a $100 citation received weeks after the incident would not be enough of a deterrent, particularly as there are no points attached. Cameras may not be an adequate substitute for state trooper presence, as troopers can respond to car accidents and help facilitate the flow of traffic when needed. Additionally, the cameras would not identify other reckless driving behaviors, such as driving under the influence. Still, many say this would be an important step toward improving work zone safety conditions.
Both supporters of the plan and its opponents agree that more needs to be done to keep workers safe on Pennsylvania highways. As many of these work zones are on highly trafficked areas, it would be nearly impossible to close them to traffic entirely. It is up to drivers to engage in safe driving behaviors in order to avoid work-zone accidents. When they fail to do so, serious and sometimes fatal injuries can occur.
Pennsylvania Construction Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger Fight for Rights of Injured Highway Workers
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a work zone car accident, call Pennsylvania construction accident lawyers at Galfand Berger. Our knowledgeable, experienced legal team will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault, then take the necessary steps to hold that person accountable for their negligence. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania we help injured highway workers throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a free consultation with a qualified Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.