News

Automated speed enforcement bill advances again in Senate

February 1, 2017 by · Comments Off on Automated speed enforcement bill advances again in Senate
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safezone_signBecause of PHIA’s focus on highway safety, it probably comes as no surprise that the organization supports automated speed enforcement in work zones using cameras. The Senate Transportation Committee considered such a measure last year but was not able to advance it to a floor vote in the waning days of the legislative session.

The committee once again advanced a very similar measure in its first week of the new session, and it is positioned again to move toward a vote of the full Senate and advance to the House.

The experience that Maryland has had after enacting a similar measure makes it very clear that automated enforcement works. Once Maryland drivers became aware that exceeding the work zone speed limit by at least 11 miles per hour could result in a ticket for the vehicle owner, violations dropped from seven cars per 100 to fewer than one per 100.

“There’s some disagreement among lawmakers as to whether the revenue from automated speeding fines should go toward highway use or be used to support the State Police,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “Neither PHIA nor the construction industry has a position on where the money should go. For us, the safety of people in work zones is the most important consideration.”

An article about the Senate bill can be found at this link. E-motion will provide updates on this measure as it advances.

 

News

Automated Work Zone Enforcement Advances in the Senate

June 23, 2016 by · 2 Comments
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600600p472EDNmain1155Senate 4Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senator David Argall (R-Berks), which creates a pilot program for automated camera enforcement in work zones, passed unanimously out of Senate Appropriations Committee last night.

Before passage, the committee adopted two amendments to SB 840: first, Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) introduced an amendment to direct the revenue from tickets to the Motor License Fund; second, Senator Argall made some technical changes to the language. Both amendments were adopted unanimously.

The bill would create a five year, sun-setting pilot program for automated enforcement systems on interstate highways during active work times. The highways must be under the jurisdiction of PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission, and enforcement zones will be noted at least twice before a driver enters the work zone. The bill also mandates that the Secretary of Transportation and the Chairman of the Turnpike Commission post a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin before a new speed enforcement system is operational. Read more

News

Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill

September 29, 2015 by · Comments Off on Senate committee OKs work zone speed camera bill
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safezone_signThe Senate Transportation Committee unanimously advanced a bill that would allow automated enforcement of speed limits in Pennsylvania’s work zones. The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senators David Argall (R-Schuylkill) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks), would establish a five-year pilot program to test the automated enforcement program in active work zones on Interstate highways managed by either PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission. The owners of cars photographed traveling at least 11 miles per hour above the posted speed limit would receive a $100 citation in the mail.  The bill also requires advanced warning signs to be placed in advance of camera usage to alert motorists that automated enforcement is in operation.

If the measure receives Senate approval, it will then be considered by the House before being sent to the governor for final approval.

 

News

Still no widespread speed increase for PA Turnpike, Interstates

July 28, 2015 by · Comments Off on Still no widespread speed increase for PA Turnpike, Interstates
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70-MPH-signLast year, Pennsylvania increased the speed limit to 70 mph on parts of the Turnpike and Interstates 80 and 380 as part of a pilot study, leading many to believe that widespread speed increases were imminent.

However, the Turnpike Commission and PennDOT say they are still studying the impact of the change. So far, they have no definitive conclusion as to whether the increased speed limit is safe or unsafe.PennDOT estimated that the average driver would save approximately 6 minutes per 97 miles on the Turnpike with the speed increase, 5.8 minutes per 88 miles on I-80, and 1.4 minutes per 21 miles on I-380.

Pennsylvania is the 38th state to start moving highway speed limits to 70 mph; West Virginia bumped up its limits back in 1997.

“Whether the maximum speed limit on Pennsylvania highways is 65 or 70 is less important to PHIA than the assurance that the speed is safe on these roads,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “While studies so far have been inconclusive, we believe that PennDOT’s decision will be based on the best and safest use of state highways.”

 

News

APC supports automated speed limit enforcement in work zones

July 14, 2015 by · Comments Off on APC supports automated speed limit enforcement in work zones
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safezone_signAPC’s Bob Latham was among numerous parties providing testimony before a joint House/Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday morning regarding a broad range of highway safety issues. Bob’s focus was on Senate Bill 840, a Sen. David Argall-sponsored measure that would authorize automated speed limit enforcement in work zones.

He cited the positive results of a similar program in Maryland in curtailing excessive speeding in work zones and said it would improve the level of safety for the traveling public, as well as construction workers. For a news release summarizing Bob’s testimony, click here.

 

 

News

Senate committee approves increased penalties for work zone speed violations

June 30, 2015 by · Comments Off on Senate committee approves increased penalties for work zone speed violations
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Road constructionThe state Senate Transportation Committee has unanimously approved a measure to increase penalties for drivers who injure highway workers.

Sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver), the bill would impose fines upward of $1,000 for irresponsible driving in areas of road construction. These fines increase to $5,000 and a six-month suspension of the driver’s license if a highway worker or emergency responder is injured. Finally, if a highway worker is killed in the accident, drivers would pay a fine of up to $10,000 and lose their licenses for up to one year.

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 workers are injured every year in highway and street-construction accidents. Read more

News

General Assembly nears introduction of work zone safety legislation

June 2, 2015 by · Comments Off on General Assembly nears introduction of work zone safety legislation
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Orange construction lightThis week, the General Assembly is set to introduce legislation aimed at improving driver and worker safety in construction zones.

The bill would authorize automated speed enforcement in work zones on limited access state highways. Cameras would photograph license plates of vehicles that significantly exceed speed limits, and the vehicle owner would receive a violation notice. Areas of automated enforcement would be clearly marked.

In work zones, space restrictions make it difficult for police officers to monitor and enforce excessive speeding. In the last five years, there have been 10,586 crashes in Pennsylvania work zones, costing 128 lives. In 2013 alone, there were 1,800 crashes and 16 deaths.

Maryland’s automated enforcement program has proven to be successful. In its first two-and-a-half years, that state saw a reduction from about 7 percent to about 1 percent of drivers significantly exceeding the speed limit in work zones.

“While the industry certainly is concerned with worker safety, this initiative would have much a much broader positive effect,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “According to the Federal Highway Administration, 85 percent of the victims of work zone fatalities are drivers or passengers, not highway workers.”

 

News

Work Zone Awareness Week begins today

March 23, 2015 by · Comments Off on Work Zone Awareness Week begins today
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NatWZAPoster-Today marks the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week, and PHIA – along with PennDOT and the construction industry – join again to urge the public to slow down and pay attention as the 2015 construction season begins.

While we are all thankful for the passage of Act 89, the transportation funding measure, it brought with it the challenge of an increasing number of work zones across the Commonwealth. That means more lane restrictions, more people working in them and more drivers traveling through them.

“Some people think work zone safety is only about the construction workers,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “They think that if workers are not present in work zones, speed limits aren’t as important, and distractions are less of an issue.”

However, he noted, according to the Federal Highway Administration drivers and passengers constitute 85 percent of the fatalities caused by accidents in work zones.

“Whether construction workers are present or not, lane restrictions create challenges to drivers,” Wagner said. “Drivers have less time to react, and less space for maneuvering. Slowing down and eliminating distractions reduces the margin for errors.”

Wagner joined Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards and others in a news conference kicking off the awareness campaign. To read about the event, click here.

 

News, Video

Automated speed enforcement in work zones will save lives

February 4, 2015 by · Comments Off on Automated speed enforcement in work zones will save lives
Filed under: News, Video 

Having taken a major step toward addressing Pennsylvania’s bridge and highway funding needs with the passage of Act 89, PHIA and the construction industry are turning their attention toward work zone safety.

The industry is lining up behind legislation that will provide for camera enforcement of speed limits in work zones. Five years of experience with such a system in Maryland proves that this approach is exceptionally effective.

It’s not just about construction workers. In four out of five work zone crashes, it’s motorists and passengers who are injured or killed, not construction workers.

In Maryland, the number of work zone speeding violations has dropped dramatically since the program began. Click below to view a short video, and check back at www.PaHighwayInfo.org for periodic updates.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/117849757[/vimeo]

 

News

APC to seek work zone safety solution

October 10, 2014 by · 1 Comment
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It probably comes as no surprise that speeding through work zones is the top safety concern among highway construction workers.

WZCAMERAAdd to that the increased speed limits on the Turnpike and on sections of some Interstate Highways, along with the increasing number of work zones as PennDOT’s Decade of Investment advances following passage of the transportation funding act, and it becomes clear why the issue has climbed to the top of the industry’s list of priorities.

In August, the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Safety Committee recommended that APC lead a legislative initiative to allow the use of cameras to enforce speed limits in work zones.

In Maryland, which implemented a camera enforcement program in 2009, speeding in work zones has decreased significantly. Signage announces that speeding through work zones will result in fines, cameras photograph the license plates of vehicles that fail to comply, and vehicle owners receive a citation by mail.

Given the Maryland experience and the universal desire to protect highway construction workers, APC is hopeful that the legislation will receive strong support near the beginning of the next legislative session. Except for a few procedural matters, the current session effectively ends next week.

“Maryland’s experience shows that not only is camera enforcement effective, it’s very cost-effective since it provides protection around the clock without requiring the time and attention of State Police personnel,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “We hope that legislators will embrace the idea strongly and quickly next year.”

 

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