Timothy P. Reilly, P.E., Collision Reconstruction / Civil Engineer
Pennsylvania officials have recently announced a new Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement pilot program and the vehicle-mounted camera and radar devices are already operational in several work zones across the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and Pennsylvania State Police are partnering in the program to reduce speeding in work zones to improve safety for workers and drivers.
The cameras will automatically capture a picture of the license plate when the radar detects a vehicle travelling 11 miles or greater over the speed limit in an active work zone. Violation notices will be then sent via mail according to the vehicle’s registration address. For the first offense, the owner of the vehicle will simply receive a warning. The penalty for the second offense is a $75.00 fine. Subsequent penalties will be $150.00 fines. Work zones utilizing these vehicles will have signs warning drivers and there will be a website where drivers can track the location of these vehicles.
A $150.00 fine is certainly motivation enough to reduce vehicle travel speed a work zone. However, the main reason to slow down through work zones is to prevent work zone fatalities. According to recent figures from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), fatal crashes in work zones are increasing, while fatal crashes outside of work zones are decreasing. In 2017 alone, 132 workers died in roadway construction sites due to traffic collisions.
Posted speed limit restrictions in work zones reflect the reduction in capacity and the atypical layout caused by the traffic control related to the construction. Additionally, they also serve to protect people working in close proximity to moving vehicles. Observing the posted speed limit through work zones can save their lives.
Timothy P. Reilly, P.E., Collision Reconstruction / Civil Engineer with DJS Associates, Inc., can be reached via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.