New law mandates points, fines and rescue costs for offending motorists
Ignoring a “road-closed” sign – a frequent occurrence around the flood-prone Brandywine – became potentially more costly today, state officials said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) said a new law imposing stiff penalties on motorists who ignore barricades or other safety warning signs and devices is now in effect.
Act 114, signed on July 5 by Gov. Tom Corbett, aims to increase safety for motorists and emergency responders in areas where flooding or other hazardous conditions exist.
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 the need for emergency responders – such as the drivers who frequently end up in submerged vehicles on Rt. 926 near Creek Road – 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.
Those costs are likely to be at least $250, said Patty Mains, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Emergency Services. She said they could run higher, depending on the severity of the situation and how much equipment is required.
“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.”