PennDOT says it’s rolling out new automated speed enforcement vehicle to improve work-zone safety

MIDDLETOWN, Dauphin County — If you’re one of those people who speed through work zones on Pennsylvania highways, beware.

A new, automated work-zone enforcement program will soon be hitting roadways across the state.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and State Police announced Wednesday that they’re implementing a new statewide pilot program designed to reduce work zone speeds, improve work zone safety, and change driver behavior.

The Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits by 11 miles per hour or more. The systems use electronic speed-timing devices. They are only active in work zones where workers are present, PennDOT officials said.

A 60-day pre-enforcement period will begin next week, according to PennDOT. During that time, violations will not be issued.

But when enforcement begins in early 2020, registered owners will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and a $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation and a $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses, PennDOT said.

The violations are civil penalties only, according to PennDOT. No points will be added to violators’ drivers licenses.

PennDOT said there were 1,804 work-zone crashes across the state last year, resulting in 23 deaths. Almost half of the work zone crashes (43 percent) resulted in fatalities and/or injuries, according to PennDOT.

Since 1970, PennDOT says, a total of 89 workers were killed in work zone crashes. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has lost 45 workers since 1945, PennDOT said.

“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.”

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