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New system could make highway construction zones safer

People who work in construction zones have some of the most dangerous jobs there are. In addition to the inherent dangers of working on any construction site, they’re at the mercy of drivers who may be impaired, drowsy or just not exercising the extra caution needed around highway construction zones.

In 2017, there were 1,778 work-zone crashes in Pennsylvania. Nineteen people died in those crashes and over 1,100 suffered injuries. The state is working to get those numbers down.

In the fall, a new automated system will begin being rolled out in the five-year pilot program authorized by state lawmakers. It will measure the speed of vehicles in construction zones and take pictures of the license plates of those exceeding the limit. Those driving at least 11 miles per hour over the limit in active work zones will receive a warning via mail. Second and third offenses will result in fines of $75 and $150, respectively.

The rollout is starting slow, in just two locations. Those locations haven’t yet been selected, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) spokesperson. The plan is to have ten systems in place before 2021 at active construction zones on interstates, state roads and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A PennDOT official said, “We are really hoping this is going to save lives and make people think about their driving behaviors in work zones.”

Of course, there are already laws in place to deal with drivers who cause injuries and worse in highway construction zones. A 20-year-old Erie man is facing charges including homicide and DUI for the death of a 26-year-old woman who was fatally hit while she was working on Interstate 90 last August.

If you’ve been injured or a loved one was killed while working in a road construction zone, it’s essential to explore all of your options for compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you.


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