The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), in partnership with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), announced the implementation of a statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) pilot program to reduce work zone speeds, change driver behavior, and improve work zone safety for workers and motorists.
"The Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program isn't about issuing violations, it's about saving lives," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. "Last year, 23 motorists were killed in a Pennsylvania work zone. Through this program we are urging motorists to slow down and pay attention while driving, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change on a daily basis."
The AWZSE program was established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in Act 86 of 2018. A minimum 60-day pre-enforcement pilot period will begin soon. During the pre-enforcement period, violations will not be issued. Enforcement is expected to begin in early 2020.
Automated speed enforcement units will be deployed to a number of active work zones during the pre-enforcement period. These work zones will be in various types of projects and will initially focus on our interstate and other limited access work zones, such as Interstate 78 in Berks County. Work zones are selected by a data-driven process to maximize the effectiveness of the systems and will be marked with signage in advance of the enforcement area.
"When a crash occurs in an active work zone, it's just as likely to result in death or injury to a driver or passenger inside that vehicle," said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. "This program is about protecting everybody's safety. If not for these workers in an active work zone, I ask you to slow down for yourself and other travelers."
Pennsylvania's AWZSE program uses 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. AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Once enforcement begins, registered owners will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points will be assessed to driver's licenses.
In 2018, there were 1,804 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 23 fatalities, and 43 percent of work zone crashes resulted in fatalities and/or injuries. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 89 workers in the line of duty and the PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1945.
"We are committed to facilitating the efficient movement of traffic through work zones while ensuring the safety of drivers, passengers, and workers," said Director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol Major James Basinger. "PSP continues to work closely with our safety partners to explore how to best leverage evolving technology to make Pennsylvania's roads safer."