Transportation Committee Endorses Highway Worker Protection Bill

HARRISBURG — The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved legislation today that would better protect highway workers and emergency personnel in work zones, according to one of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

Senate Bill 887 would toughen penalties for drivers who endanger or kill a highway worker in a construction zone due to distracted or aggressive driving.

Violators could face fines and penalties exceeding $1,000 for irresponsible driving 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. Drivers causing the death of a worker would pay a fine of no more than $10,000 and surrender their license for one year.

“The frequency of incidents in work zones is troubling, and highway workers and their families live in constant fear that the irresponsible actions of a distracted or aggressive driver will ultimately lead to a tragedy,” Bartolotta said. “I am hopeful that strengthening the penalties for reckless drivers in work zones will help limit the dangers faced by the men and women who help maintain our vital infrastructure.”

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 bipartisan bill was introduced by Bartolotta and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-43).

Senate Bill 887 was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463