PennDOT Urges Responsible, Safe Driving

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) encourage all Pennsylvania motorists to take responsibility for safety on our roadways and help “Put the Brakes on Fatalities.”

In 2019, traffic fatalities dropped to 1,059, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1928. In 2020, even with less roadway traffic, fatalities increased to 1,129. In 2021, and in line with trends seen across the nation, traffic fatalities increased again, jumping by about 9% to 1,230.

“Pennsylvania is not alone in seeing an increase in roadway deaths, but that doesn’t make it OK,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “In fact, everyone should find it unacceptable. Many traffic fatalities are completely preventable. We must work together – safety is everyone’s responsibility. We urge all drivers to follow these simple safety steps today and always: pay attention when you are behind the wheel, never drive impaired, slow down, and buckle up.”

Nearly a dozen safety advocates from around the state, including PennDOT, PSP, and PTC, partnered to create a video urging safe driving.

“Troopers are trained to spot dangerous driving behaviors and take a zero-tolerance approach, but we need the public’s help to put the brakes on fatalities,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick. “If you believe you’re sharing the road with an aggressive, distracted, or impaired driver, do not hesitate to call 911.”

“Driving over the posted speed limit or too fast for conditions is among the leading causes of roadway incidents that become fatalities,” explained PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Since the pandemic, distracted driving is also a factor in many such fatalities. As drivers, we must take ownership of unsafe driving habits by paying attention and slowing down behind the wheel. It’s up to us to turn the tide.”

“Early crash data estimates are showing 2022 traffic fatalities may be down slightly over 2021,” said Gramian. “While this is encouraging news, these numbers are still too high. Even one fatality is one too many.”

Areas of concern within 2022 statewide crash data include pedestrian and motorcyclist fatalities, and fatalities in crashes involving distracted drivers.

Whether walking or biking, pedestrians and motorists must share equal respect. Drivers should slow down when approaching a crosswalk or intersection, watch for pedestrians, and be prepared to yield to them. Pedestrians should cross only at a crosswalk and make eye contact with approaching drivers to ensure they will stop before entering the roadway. Both pedestrians and motorists should obey traffic control devices, which help identify who must yield at an intersection.

PennDOT is using data to identify high pedestrian usage routes and promoting infrastructure improvements to enhance pedestrian safety, such as medians, crossing islands, and increased lighting. Traffic signal upgrades are being planned across the state to add pedestrian countdown indicators.

Riders and drivers must also work together to keep everyone safe. Motorcyclists are urged to use common sense by riding sober, obeying speed limits, and allowing enough time to react. Remember to wear all of your gear, all of the time, including reflective clothing and reflective tape on your riding gear to help improve your safety and make you more visible to motorists. Motorcyclists can be hard to see because of their smaller size. Drivers should watch for motorcycles and check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. Following too closely is a major factor in crashes involving motorcycles. Vehicles should allow at least four seconds of following distance when following a motorcycle.

Drivers are urged to always pay attention when behind the wheel. Research has shown that distraction from cell phone use while driving – either hand-held or hands-free – delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Anything that causes a motorist to take their attention away from driving, take their eyes off of the road or take their hands off of the wheel is a distraction, including:

  • Eating, drinking, and smoking,
  • Changing the radio station,
  • Talking on the phone, texting, or emailing,
  • Reading or writing,
  • Doing your hair or make up, and
  • Dozing/staring off at something along the side of the road.

PennDOT, PSP, PTC, Construction Industry Highlight National Work Zone Awareness Week

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), and Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) hosted an event today urging motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones ahead of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). The week, which runs April 11-15, is designated to highlight the critical importance of safe driving through work zones. The theme of this year’s NWZAW is “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.”

“We are beginning another construction season,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Too often this means hazards for the men and women who are delivering improved roads and bridges. These workers deserve to get home safely. Please slow down and never drive distracted, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change every day.”

According to preliminary PennDOT data, in 2021 there were 1,617 work zone crashes, resulting in 15 fatalities. Additionally, since 1970, PennDOT has lost 90 workers in the line of duty. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1940.

With a mock work zone in the background, PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton referenced the hazards of working so close to live traffic. “Our crews are doing their jobs, day in and day out, mere inches from live traffic,” Compton explained. “Our colleagues have been injured and lives have been taken when drivers do not pay attention to construction signage, respect posted speeds or maintain a safe distance.”

In Pennsylvania, there are two distinct programs related to active work zones. Under Title 75, Section 3326, motorists caught by police driving 11 mph 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 lose their license for 15 days. Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations — including 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.

Under Title 75, Section 3369, fines are allowed to be administered through the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program. Pennsylvania’s AWZSE program, first implemented in March 2020, 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. AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Work Zones that have an AWZSE system present and active will have unique signs in advance of the enforcement area, alerting drivers to the upcoming enforcement. Registered owners receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points are assessed to driver’s licenses.

In 2021, PSP supported 101 projects for work activities where existing enforcement remains the most effective tool. The combination of existing and automated enforcement continues to be applied in a complementary manner and is yielding benefits in Pennsylvania work zones.

“Increased penalties in work zones and the implementation of the AWZSE program have made Pennsylvania’s work zones safer,” said Major Robert Krol, Director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “The PSP is committed to supporting safety across Pennsylvania’s roadways.”

Results included in the AWZSE Annual Legislative Report released online today show that the program is meeting its goals of reducing work zone speeds, changing driver behavior, and improving work zone safety for both workers and motorists.

During 2021’s primary construction months (April – November), speeding in AWZSE enforced work zones was reduced to 20 percent of all traffic, down from 35 percent at the start of the program. Similarly, excessive speeding (11 mph or more over the posted speed limit) was reduced to three percent from eight percent at the start of the program. Additionally, improvements in driver behavior have been observed through not only sustained speed reductions in AWZSE-enforced work zones, but also smaller, but measurable, reductions at times when AWZSE is not in effect in those zones.

“Ultimately, this program is not about issuing violations,” said Gramian. “The goal is to change driver behavior. We want all motorists to slow down and drive safely so that enforcement programs like AWZSE are no longer needed.”

Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Executive Vice President Robert Latham emphasized that highway workers risk their lives every day in order to maintain a roadway system that is safe for the motoring public. “We’re asking that motorists do their part to keep highway workers safe, too,” said Latham. “It only takes a moment of distraction to cause an injury or fatality. Slow down and stay alert.”

For more information on the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program, including a list of projects where the units are deployed, visit

For more information on work zone safety, visit

For more information on work zone safety and an opportunity to take the safe-driving pledge, visit

Photos and video from this event will be available at