Share This Page

PennDOT memorializes fallen workers

| Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 11:12 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Linda Porter and her son, Derrick, were among those to attend a Work Zone Safety Awareness Event on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, in Butler. The event recognized PennDOT employees killed in the line of duty since 1970. Porter’s husband, Ronald, was among those recognized.

Derrick Porter has missed growing up without the strong influence of his father, Ronald Porter, who was killed in a PennDOT work zone accident in September 2003.

“It's definitely impacted my life,” said the 17-year-old West Sunbury boy. “I've missed out on things.”

On Tuesday, Porter's son, widow Linda and other family gathered around a cross bearing a fluorescent orange helmet, orange-and-yellow safety vest, and Porter's name. It's among 84 crosses outside PennDOT's maintenance office in Butler Township honoring workers killed on the job.

The crosses are a reminder for motorists to slow down as the road construction season gets into full swing.

“This is for everyone who works in a traffic zone,” said Bob Skrak, PennDOT's maintenance manager in Butler County.

Porter died when his PennDOT vehicle went off Route 58 in Parker and hit a tree. But many of those killed in work-zone accidents were struck by motorists.

Work-zone crashes across the state have been dropping, said state police Lt. Jeffrey Hopkins. In 2010, there were 1,886 crashes, and 1,812 in 2011, Hopkins said. In 2012, the last year for which numbers are available, there were 1,661 crashes.

In Butler County, though, there were 10 crashes in 2009, and 37 in 2013 — none fatal.

The number of citations written in work zones has dropped, Hopkins said, because troopers typically are stationed at work zones during peak traffic hours. Federal mandates in federally funded work zones have made the zones safer, he said.

In 2010, troopers issued 13,177 citations. By 2013, that number had fallen by nearly two-thirds, to 4,407.

Skrak said officials are working to remind motorists that they need to be careful.

Fines and punishments for work-zone infractions are doubled in active work zones.

Those found driving 11 miles an hour or more above the posted speed limit in a work zone, or involved in a work-zone crash and convicted of failing to drive at a safe speed, lose their license for 15 days.

“It's very difficult to get people to pay attention,” PennDOT spokeswoman Deborah Casadei said.

Bill Vidonic is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.