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New Law Adds Penalties To Danger Behind Barricades

Driving around a 'Road Closed' sign could mean a fine and points on your driving record.

It doesn’t take a visit from severe weather systems Leslie or Michael to bring potential flooding or other emergency conditions to the Delaware Valley.

And the next time they hit, going around those Road Closed barricades could mean more than the implied danger ahead.

A new state law imposing stiff penalties on motorists who ignore “road closed” or other safety warning signs and devices is now in effect, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said this week.

Act 114, signed on July 5 by Gov. Tom Corbett, reinforces the critical need for all drivers to obey traffic control signs. The law aims to increase safety for motorists and emergency responders in areas where flooding or other hazardous conditions exist.

“Too often, motorists decide their immediate needs outweigh the safety warning signs and they ignore them, which increases hazards for them and emergency responders,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “This law underscores that we take safety seriously. When motorists are confronted with emergency road closures, we urge them to use common sense and obey the signs that are placed to keep them safe.”

Under the law, motorists who drive around or through signs or traffic control devices closing a road or highway due to hazardous conditions will have two points added to their driving records and be fined up to $250.

If the violation results in a need for emergency responders to be called, the fine is increased to between $250 and $500. In addition, violators will be held liable for repaying the costs of staging the emergency response.

Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Joe Hare September 10, 2012 at 02:09 PM
This law would have been better if there was a part of it that said whoever posts the "road closed" sign must monitor the situation every half hour so that the sign isn't posted unnecessarily for hours after the danger subsides. That's the primary reason most people ignore the signs. When the locals leave the signs up for WAY after the flood waters recede, the sign is pointless.
Eric Sternfels September 10, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Joe in Media raises a good point. And locally, posted road work signs often do not reflect the current situation accurately. This causes confusion and an inclination to disregard such signage. During Water Department work on Allens Lane, there have been barricades that declare "Allens Lane closed" for months [and they're still around now], despite the fact that the road was only restricted from 8 am to 4 pm.
Morgan King September 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I was just being facetious to mock the ridiculousness of the supposed relevance of his quote - I completely agree with you.
Judy September 10, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Thank you for clarifying, Morgan. Anthony Wayne is taking Ike's quote out of context to serve his own opinion on this penalty.
Eva Pastor October 29, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I hope area residents remember this new law and abide by it during Sandy's stay with us. Please, be smart ... think not only of your own safety, but that of our first responders. Do you REALLY need to go out? If you do ... that ROAD CLOSED sign is up there for a reason. Go home. Stay home!

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