The PennDOT Workers’ Memorial is currently traveling throughout PennDOT’s District 5, which includes Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties, over the next several weeks to bring attention to work zone safety.
The memorial is currently on display at the Schuylkill Haven office.
According to PennDOT statewide data there were 2,075 crashes and 16 fatalities within work zones in 2016.
Work zone intrusions (WZI), which are defined as when any vehicle enters a work zone without permission or other than directed by traffic control, are a leading cause of work zone crashes. Statewide WZI have more than doubled from fiscal year 2012-13 to 2015-16.
Locally over the past five years in Schuylkill County, there have been 18 work zone intrusions.
In east central Pennsylvania, there have been 61 incidents with 21 resulting in injuries in PennDOT personnel or property damage.
The memorial, which honors the 87 employees who have been killed in the line of duty since 1970, was on display at the event. The memorial with its reflective vests and hardhats mounted on stands, was created by Bradford County maintenance workers following the death of co-worker Leah Rumsey, who was hit by a car while flagging in a work zone.
PennDOT offers the following tips for motorists encountering work zones:
• Drive the posted work zone speed limit;
• Stay alert and pay close attention to signs and flaggers;
• Turn on your headlights if signs instruct you to do so;
• Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and do not tailgate;
• Use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly;
• Avoid distractions and give your full attention to the road;
• Always buckle up;
• Expect the unexpected;
• Be patient.
Photos by Skook News Photographer Daniel Reed