Bartolotta, Costa Introduce Bipartisan Highway Worker Protection Bill

HARRISBURG — Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-43) introduced bipartisan legislation today that would help protect highway workers and emergency personnel in work zones.

Senate Bill 887 would discourage irresponsible driving in work zones by enacting stiff penalties, including fines and long-term license suspensions, for drivers who endanger or kill a highway worker in a construction zone due to distracted or aggressive driving.

The bill would increase fines and penalties by $1,000 for minor violations in work zones. More serious offenses involving highway workers or emergency responders could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a six-month suspension of the violator’s driver’s license.

“This legislation renews our commitment to the families of those working in construction zones, especially their children.  Simply put, it means we’re taking steps to protect construction workers and first responders who go to work every day with the expectation they’ll return home as safe as they arrived that morning.  This legislation will also hopefully serve as a reminder to all motorists, as vacation travel season comes into full swing – slow down — save a life,” said Costa.

“Far too often, distracted and reckless drivers jeopardize innocent lives by driving irresponsibly in work zones,” Bartolotta said. “Although increased penalties are already imposed for certain violations in construction zones, the frequency of incidents shows that these penalties are inadequate to change dangerous behavior behind the wheel. I am hopeful that this measure will help send a message to aggressive and distracted drivers so we can limit the hazards faced by highway workers and emergency responders.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that approximately 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 workers are injured every year in highway and street construction accidents.

The bill was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration.

# # #

CONTACT:

Colleen Greer (Bartolotta’s Office) 717-787-1463

Stacey Witalec (Costa’s Office) 717-787-7683