(WETM) — Several Pennsylvania organizations hosted an event today showcasing the importance of slowing down and paying attention in work zones ahead of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), and Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) were involved with the event.

The week runs from April 11-15 and is designed to highlight the importance of safe driving through work zones. The theme of this year’s NWZAW is “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow down”

According to preliminary PennDOT data, there were 15 fatalities due to work zone crashes in 2021, and over 1,600 crashes. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1940.

Drivers that are caught by police driving 11mph or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone automatically lose their license for 15 days. Additionally, fines for speeding or driving under the influence are doubled for active work zones. Individuals convicted of homicide by a crash that occurred in a work zone are also subject to up to five years of additional jail time.

Pennsylvania departments will deploy an Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program. AWZSE uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record speeding drivers exceeding the posted work zone speed limit by 11mph or more. Drivers will receive a warning letter for the first offense, a violation notice and a $75 fine for the second, and a violation notice and $150 fine for the third offense.

According to PennDOT, during construction months last year speeding in AWZSE enforced work zones was down 35 percent since the start of the program.

PennDOT secretary Yassmin Gramian said that “Ultimately, this program is not about issuing violations,”. “The goal is to change driver behavior. We want all motorists to slow down and drive safely so that enforcement programs like AWZSE are no longer needed.”