Drivers who are caught on camera speeding through work zones on Pennsylvania highways will have to start paying fines soon.
The Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program will be rolled out next week, with the purpose of keeping road workers and other drivers safe by having cars travel slower as they proceed through work areas on highways.
The program was officially unveiled on Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) after the completion of a months-long pilot program. The pilot program was enacted via legislation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2018 after receiving the findings and recommendations from a report issued by the State Transportation Advisory Committee in November 2012.
The program will deploy 17 speed cameras across the state to enforce speed limits in active work zones, as electronic speed-timing radar and non-radar devices will be mounted on vehicles parked in active work areas on highways. Signs will be posted for drivers to indicate and if and where the active work zone would be on the highway so that they can anticipate and slow down.
Drivers going 11 miles per hour (mph) over the speed limit in the active work zone will get a warning letter the first time after the speed camera takes a picture of the license plate, records the vehicle’s speed, and identifies whom the car is registered to. Second-time offenders will receive a $75 fine, and any subsequent violations will result in a $150 fine.
The tickets are civil fines only and drivers will have up to 30 days to contest the violations. No points will be put onto driver’s licenses and merit ratings for insurance will not be impacted. The money collected from the fines will be used to fund the program.
“Through the Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program, we are urging motorists to slow down and pay attention while driving, especially through work zones where roadway conditions can change on a daily basis,” acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said in a statement.
More than 1,800 work zone crashes occurred in Pennsylvania in 2018, with 23 people being killed. Roughly 43 percent of those work zone crashes resulted in fatalities and/or injuries in 2018. PennDOT has had 89 employees die while working in active work zones on highways since 1970, while the Pennsylvania Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1945.
“While there can be fines assessed, the AWZSE program’s goal is not to generate revenue,” Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said in a statement. “The goal is to build awareness and most importantly, to change unsafe driving behaviors. The program serves as a roadway reminder that safety is literally in each driver’s hands when they are behind the wheel.”