Speeding drivers may have more incentive to slow down in work zones now that a group representing Pennsylvania highway contractors is pushing for speed enforcement cameras.
Associated Pennsylvania Constructors is concerned for the safety of construction workers as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) prepares to implement a 70 mph speed limit on some interstates. Two sections of the PA Turnpike have already posted the new limit.
The new 70 mph speed limit would also increase the work zone speed limit to 55 mph in some places, potentially endangering workers.
The group plans to make the camera legislation a priority when the General Assembly begins its new session in 2015. The legislation's timing could also be a result of the influx of road and bridge construction projects expected to break ground next year.
"We need more than hard hats and vests to protect our workers," PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said through a spokesman.
Speed enforcement cameras "have shown to be effective in reducing speeds, crashes, injuries and fatalities," as well as an "improvement in driver behavior," according to a 2012 report by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Advisory Committee.
For the past five years, Maryland has implemented speed enforcement cameras in work zones and officials report that speeding has declined in the state. Fewer than 2 of 100 drivers travel over the 12 mph work zone speed limit. Also, the number of citations issued dropped from 529,000 to about 350,000 last year, according to AAA.
"Over time, [cameras] make some improvement. People only have to be ticketed once to improve their behavior," according to Dan Cessna, PennDot district executive for Allegheny, Beaver, and Lawrence counties.
Whether you're a construction worker or a driver, road construction presents risks to everyone. Understand how you can prevent accidents in your vehicle or on the construction site. Know what steps to take if you're an injured worker or a driver involved in a work zone accident.