Work-zone speeders could soon get tickets in the mail under Pennsylvania law
Pennsylvania motorists could receive fines in the mail for speeding through work zones under a proposed law that allows traffic cameras in the zones.
Legislation authorizing the cameras awaits Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature after the state Senate passed it last week.
Under the law, drivers would be ticketed for driving 11 miles per hour or more over the speed limit in active work zones on the Turnpike and on expressways — not on local roads. Speeders would get a warning for a first offense, a $75 ticket for a second offense and a $150 ticket for any more offenses.
The law requires at least two signs warning drivers they are entering an automated ticketing area, one of which must say whether the enforcement system is active or not. A sign also is required notifying drivers they have reached the end of the active work zone.
“We applaud the Legislature for this bill, an effort to greatly reduce safety risks, not only to workers along our highways, but also to motorists,” state Department of Transportation spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said in an emailed statement.
A specific timetable hasn’t been established for installing the cameras, Kirkpatrick said in the email.
Some drivers question the motives behind the law.
“I think it’s just another way that they’re trying to get your money,” said Mike Crain, 37, of Harrison. “I understand the safety point for the workers and stuff, but it seems every time you turn around, they’re trying to hit you with something else.”
Under the law, fine money that is left over after covering program costs would go toward recruiting and training Pennsylvania State Police cadets and adding more troopers to patrol work zones in the first three years of the program.
In the final two years of the program, which is authorized for five years under the law, 40 percent of fine money would go into the state’s Motor License Fund and would be appropriated by the General Assembly, while the rest would be used for various work zone safety and education measures.
Other drivers said they support the measure as a way to improve safety for workers.
“I think that’s fair — you get a warning,” said Allison Guidish, 30, of Munhall. “I think that’s smart.”
Guidish, who said her father worked in road construction, added she thought the 11-mph threshold was reasonable.
PennDOT data show there were 1,789 crashes in work zones in 2017. The crashes trended upward from 2012, when there were 1,661 crashes, to 2016, when there were 2,075, the data show. There were 19 work zone fatalities in 2017, 16 in 2016 and 21 in 2012, according to the data.
Construction is expected to increase dramatically through 2019, creating more work zones, according to Kirkpatrick.
Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Wes at 412-380-5676, [email protected] or via Twitter @wesventeicher.