Legislation has recently been signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf adopting a five-year “pilot” program that will allow for cameras and electronic equipment to be installed in work zones on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, interstate highways, and other state-maintained roads to monitor the speed of vehicles. This comes as part of several-years long initiatives to provide for safer work environments for construction crews and is aimed at duplicating similar programs in other states such as Maryland. The legislation allows for 18 months for the Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and State Police to develop the system and hire a vendor to operate it before the program is up and running, but will likely be operational within a few months from now.
Statistics provided by the state Department of Transportation show that forty percent of all work zone crashes involve speeding, and there has been a five percent increase in the average annual rate of work zone crashes statewide from 2012 to 2017. On top of that, from 2012 to 2017 1,789 accidents in work zones resulted in 119 deaths.
As early as this spring, drivers who speed through active work zones exceeding the posted limit by 11 mph or more could be issued a ticket by the Pennsylvania State Police in the mail. If a speeding violation is deemed to have been committed, a state police representative will review it and a notice of violation will be issued to the registered vehicle owner. A first offense in any given 12-month period will result in a warning while a second offense would generate a fine of $75, and subsequent offenses would carry fines of $150. However, the tickets will not include points on the driver’s license or notification to insurance companies. Traffic signs advising motorists of the camera enforcement also have to be erected at the affected work zones.
“It’s our desire to get it into operation in the next construction season [that begins in March],” said Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. Compton also noted that 173 crashes in work zones on the turnpike have occurred in the 2017-18 fiscal year and 41 crashes since June. “Automated speed enforcement doesn’t have to be used at every single construction site in order to change the behavior across the state,” said Compton.
PennDOT and the turnpike will also continue their widespread initiatives to encourage drivers to slow down in work zones. Revenues from the fines generated through this new program will be divided among the state police (45 percent) for recruitment and speed enforcement in work zones, the state’s Motor License Fund (40 percent) for allocation by the General Assembly for transportation and transit projects, and the state Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (15 percent) for other work zone safety initiatives.
If you have been cited for traffic related offenses, contact Mooney Law to discuss your legal options. Mooney Law boasts an effective Capital region criminal defense practice. Contact us today at 833-MOONEYLAW to schedule a consultation at the office most convenience for you.