Oh no! Road construction ahead!?!

Road construction can sometimes be a real nuisance to your daily commute. Detours, road closures, and road safety crews are just a few examples of necessary but inconvenient obstacles.

When designing plans for a property that will be accessed from a PennDOT designated road and work will be done within the road right-of-way, we will have to create a PennDOT plan set for submission to receive a Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP). A PennDOT plan set needs to include PATA details showing where and how lane, shoulder, and roadway closures should be set up for traffic control. These precautions are in place for the safety of yourself and the workers. Yes, this can be a pain for your commute if you are late or had a bad day and want to be home, but I’m sure you would prefer to arrive safely rather than injured.

In 2019 Pennsylvania recorded 1,626 total crashes located within a work zone. Sixteen of these crashes were fatal, and 1,074 people were injured. Compared to the statistics from the previous five years, the total number of collisions within a work zone is trending down, but the fatalities fluctuate. Nationally, the U.S. estimated over 115,000 work zone crashes, resulting in 842 deaths and leaving over 39,000 people injured.

I’m sure some of these injuries or deaths could have been prevented simply by adding flag workers or motorists paying more attention while driving.

While driving through a work zone the other day, I started thinking about the laws that I knew of that are enforced within these zones. I knew that I needed to reduce my speed, turn my headlights on when traveling through the active work zone, and that all fines would be doubled. I was curious if there were any other laws concerning work zones that I did not know of, so I decided to do some research. For instance, I did not realize that your headlights must be on even if the work zone is not active. I also did not know that if you’re going 11 mph over the posted speed limit in a work zone, or if you’re involved in a crash within an active work zone and convicted of failing to drive at a safe speed, you will automatically lose your license for 15 days.

So, next time you’re traveling through a work zone, remember the things mentioned here to avoid becoming another number in a statistic. Safe travels!