Pennsylvania recently enacted a new law designed to save lives in highway work zones. The Work Zone Safety Law creates additional requirements for highway contractors and motorists. It also imposes strict penalties for motorists who drive dangerously in work zones.
Every year, highway workers and motorists are injured and killed as a result of work zone crashes. Therefore, the new law will get tough on drivers who are jeopardizing the safety of others.
Highway agencies and contractors are also instructed to keep the work zones as short as practical, to minimize lane restrictions, and to remove traffic-control devices as soon as possible when the work is complete.
Pennsylvania's New Work Zone Requirements
All Posted Work Zones:
- Headlights On. All motorists are required to travel with their headlights turned on in all posted work zones, not just active work zones. It is necessary for drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights to turn on their headlights in order to activate their taillights. The penalty for driving without lit headlights in a posted work zone is $25. This is a secondary law; therefore individuals are subject to the fine only if convicted for another violation of the vehicle code.
- Speed-Monitoring Devices. Interstate work zones with a project cost exceeding $300,000 will have a speed-monitoring device to alert motorists of their speed prior to entering the work zone.
Active Work Zones:
- Posting of Active Work Zones. Active work zones must be designated as such to notify motorists when they enter and leave the work zone. A white flashing light attached to the "Active Work Zone When Flashing" sign will indicate an active work zone. The flashing light will only be activated when workers are present and turned off when workers are not present.
- Fifteen-Day Loss of License for Driving Dangerously. Motorists caught 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 will lose their license for 15 days.
- Fines Doubled/Jail Time Increased. Fines for certain traffic violations -- including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices -- are doubled for active work zones. Also, the law 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.