Safer Roads Ahead: Pennsylvania Implements Permanent Work Zone Speed Safety Camera Program

Work Zone Speed Safety Camera programCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Aiming to keep roads safer and decrease work zone accidents, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PA Turnpike), along with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), have begun enforcement of the permanent statewide Work Zone Speed Safety Camera program. This initiative, a successor to the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement pilot, comes to fruition under Governor Josh Shapiro’s persistent dedication towards public safety.

Originally introduced as a five-year pilot program, the Work Zone Speed Safety Camera initiative was made permanent when Governor Shapiro signed House Bill 1284 into law in December 2013. The program was lauded for its success in significantly reducing speeding and related accidents in work zones.

Over the five years of the pilot, the program’s effectiveness is reflected in a 38% reduction in work zone speeding, a 47% decrease in excessive speeding, and a decline in work zone crashes by up to 50% when a speed enforcement vehicle was present.

“Pennsylvania’s roads are becoming safer. This program has successfully moderated speeds and altered driver behavior, providing a securer environment for both workers and road users,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll.

Commencing from February 15, 2024, modifications to the law includes a 15-day warning period post the first violation notice. The warning allows motorists to acquaint themselves with the program and possibly alter their driving behavior. Following the warning period, multiple violations can occur on consecutive days, or even the same day.

The new legislation also allows for a fresh start. Regardless of previous violations under the pilot program, all participating motorists will begin with a clean slate, marking their first violation. However, violations issued before February 15, 2024, will remain valid and pursued for resolution.

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To guide motorists and improve driver awareness, active work zones equipped with speed safety cameras will be accompanied by advanced signage. Emphasizing visibility, new high-visibility signs are also being introduced.

The Work Zone Speed Safety Camera program focuses on reducing speeds within active work zones. The program deploys vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more, using electronic speed timing devices. A first offense garners a warning letter. A second offense entails a $75 fine and a $150 fine for the third and all subsequent offenses. However, these violations carry civil penalties only, with no points assessed to driver’s licenses.

“Speed safety cameras play a crucial role in encouraging responsible driving behaviors,” says PA Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey. “Our objective is to rally awareness and fundamentally alter unsafe driving practices.”

In 2022, Pennsylvania reported 1,293 work zone crashes resulting in 14 fatalities, with 42% of work zone crashes leading to fatalities and/or injuries. Since 1970, PennDOT and the PA Turnpike have collectively lost 135 workers in the line of duty.

Through the implementation of the Work Zone Speed Safety Camera program, Pennsylvania aims to reduce these numbers significantly, reminding drivers that safety is indeed in their own hands.

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