Gov. Wolf signs bill to protect workers in construction zones

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Gov. Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 172 designed to deter speeding in work zones and ultimately improve motorist and roadway worker safety.
“Crashes, injuries, and deaths that occur because of speeding are completely preventable, and this law is a major step in enhancing safety in Pennsylvania’s work zones,” Gov. Wolf said in a prepared statement. “We always urge people to drive safely, and this is especially critical for those working within and driving through work zones.”
The new law, the Automated Speed Enforcement in Work Zones, has three key provisions, one of which allows the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) to perform a five-year pilot program in which some construction and maintenance work zones will have cameras equipped with LIDAR or radar to take photos of license plates of any vehicle exceeding the work zone speed limit by 11 mph or more when workers are present.
If a violation is committed, a Pennsylvania State Police representative will review it and then a notice of violation will be issued to the registered vehicle owner. The first violation is a warning, the second violation results in a $75 fine and the third and subsequent violation means a $150 fine.
Violations will not be subject to driving points or merit rating for insurance purposes. The law allows PennDOT and the PTC to choose which contractor or department-force work zones on the federal aid highway system to use in the pilot. Special advanced signage advising motorists of the camera enforcement have to be erected at the affected work zones.
The law aims to address ongoing safety concerns in work zones. Forty percent of all work zone crashes involve speeding. Crashes in work zones on Interstates and the Turnpike increased from 618 in 2012 to 1,008 in 2016. There has been a 5 percent increase in the average annual rate of work zone crashes statewide from 2012-2016, increasing from 1,661 in 2012 to 2,075 in 2016.
As an additional provision, the legislation establishes a five-year pilot program within the City of Philadelphia for speeding enforcement cameras. Automated speed enforcement zones will be permitted along the entire length of U.S. 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) between Ninth St. and the Bucks County line. As with the work zone pilot, special signage advising motorists of the camera enforcement have to be erected denoting the automated speed enforcement zone.
The third provision in the law allows the use of LIDAR speed-measuring devices for the automated speed enforcement programs and PSP.

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