Mother's plea turns into legislation to protect highway workers

Bill calls for automated speed cameras in construction zones

Mother's plea turns into legislation

LENHARTSVILLE, Pa - What could have been tragedy for the Doppel family of Berks County could soon bring peace of mind to the families of highway workers in Pennsylvania.

"There are many accidents on our highways," said Holly Doppel. "The turnpike especially, [Interstate] 78 and all, that involve people's children."

Last year, Doppel's son, Paul, was working on a dark Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bensalem, Bucks County. He was told he could go home at 1 a.m. Four hours later, at that very spot, a car came speeding through and hit the workers.

The driver of the car was killed. Four workers were hurt, one of whom suffered life-changing injuries.

Doppel said it was by the grace of God her son was told to go home early. She spearheaded legislation to give highway workers more protection.

"This bill was a Republican and a Democrat working together on it," she said.

In this case, the Republican is state Sen. David Argall, and the Democrat is state Sen. Judy Schwank. A year and a half later, the state Senate has passed the bill, sending it to the House.

"Goodie. I'm very glad," Doppel said.

If the bill is signed into law, it would bring in automated speed cameras where crews work on highways. That could mean steeper penalties for speeders. And, maybe, as Doppel's son continues to work on highways, more peace of mind for her.

"We need to have our roads fixed. They're a mess," said Doppel, "but we've got to do it with the thing of looking at our construction workers and keeping them safe."

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