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Making Work Zones Safer: PA Senate Passes Camera Bill

Wed October 03, 2018 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle


A bill to put speed cameras in active construction zones on the state's highways, as well as the turnpike, was approved by the Pennsylvania Senate on Oct. 2.
A bill to put speed cameras in active construction zones on the state's highways, as well as the turnpike, was approved by the Pennsylvania Senate on Oct. 2.

Work zones in Pennsylvania will soon get a little safer.

A bill to put speed cameras in active construction zones on the state's highways, as well as the turnpike, was approved by the Pennsylvania Senate on Oct. 2, and is now on its way to Gov. Wolf, the Reading Eagle reported. The bill was approved by the House the week of Sept. 24. According to local law makers, it is meant to help make work zones safer by cutting down on speeding.

The cameras will be placed on interstates, the turnpike and any other federal-aid highways, the Reading Eagle reported. The legislation states that at least two signs will be positioned ahead of the work zones to warn drivers that the cameras are there. In addition, a 10-mph cushion would be set up, so vehicles would have to be going at least 11 mph above the speed limit to get a ticket. Finally, the bill allows for the installation of a light detection and ranging devices system (LIDAR) which can be used by state police as an additional safety measure, said state police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski.

The cameras will not be installed on local roads or state highways that are not part of the federal highway system, the Reading Eagle reported.

The Consequences

The cameras will be up and running in the next 18 months to capture the license plate numbers of speeding vehicles, the Reading Eagle reported.

  • First-time offenders will get a written warning mailed to them;
  • Second-time offenders will receive a $75 fine;
  • Any additional offences will result in a $150 fine; however
  • Drivers will not receive points for this offense.
Making It Happen

Senators Judy Schwank and David G. Argall co-sponsored the bill after two years' worth of meetings with PennDOT engineers who outlined the hazards crews face in work zones, the Reading Eagle reported. The senators said that while they have heard concerns from some constituents about getting speeding tickets in the mail, they believe that the addition of the cameras will save lives.

According to PennDOT, work zone crashes have seen an increase of 25 percent between 2012 and 2016, from 1,661 to 2,075. However, that number dropped to 1,789 in 2017, partially due to PennDOT's safety measures that it has been integrating over the last five years, according to PennDOT spokesman Richard Kirkpatrick.