HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — PennDOT is urging motorists to drive safely in work zones after there have been several incidents of people driving into work zones, which have resulted in motorists hitting PennDOT employees and equipment.

“Work zones may be a temporary inconvenience, but these workers all deserve to get home safely,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Please slow down and never drive distracted, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change every day.”

According to PennDOT data, there was 1,649 work zone crashes resulting in 16 fatalities in 2021 alone. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 90 workers in the line of duty.

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From January 1, 2020, to June 7, 2022, there have been 300 instances of motorists driving into PennDOT work zones. Of those instances, 31 resulted in injuries to PennDOT employees, 66 caused damage to PennDOT equipment or vehicles only, and 203 did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so.

Title 75, Section 3326, states that if motorists are caught by police driving 11 miles per hour or more over 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 automatic lose their license for 15 days.

Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations which include 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.

Title 75, Section 3369 states that fines are allowed under the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program. This program 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. These systems,s are only operational in active work zones where workers are present.

Registered owners received a warning for their first offense, followed by a violation notice and a $75 fine for the second offense, and a violation notice and a $150 fine for subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties and no points will be put on driver’s licenses.

For more information on work zone safety, click here.