PennDOT worker struck by vehicle on Cross Valley Expressway

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A PennDOT road worker was taken to the hospital Monday morning after being hit by a vehicle on the Cross Valley Expressway. The worker was struck by a oversized load in the work zone in Plains Township.

The PennDOT worker hit was 51-year old Thomas Vitale of Nanticoke. He was talking to troopers on scene and went into surgery Monday afternoon.

This accident happens as law enforcement across the state raise awareness for Work Zone Safety Awareness week.

Vitale was taken to the hospital Monday morning after being hit by a vehicle on the Cross Valley Expressway. It happened around 10:30 a.m. in the northbound lane of route 309 heading toward the off-ramp to Kingston/Forty Fort.

Monday begins Work Zone Awareness Week across the commonwealth.

“The lives of these men and women are put at risk by drivers who don’t slow down or are inattentive in work zones and at emergency response scenes,” said Lieutenant Colonel Scott Price, PSP.

In 2020 there were 1,412 work zone crashes.

“There were fifteen people killed, killed in crashes in Pennsylvania work zones in 2020. We want that number to be zero,” said Melissa Batula, PennDOT acting executive deputy secretary .

Since 1970 PennDOT says they have lost 89 workers in the line of duty. Troopers, road crews and other first responders work alongside busy highways every day.

“Imagine the pain of losing a loved one who is doing his or her job working outside in the elements to keep travelers safe and to improve our roadways simply because of the carelessness of an inattentive or potentially impaired driver,” said Lieutenant Colonel Price.

Officials ask drivers to slow down in work zones, obey posted speed limits, put your cell phone down and eliminate distractions.

On Tuesday, April 26, changes to the move over law begin, including bigger fines.

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