Cameras to target work zone speeders

State lawmakers give approval to use of photos on highways

HARRISBURG — It’s taken several years, but state lawmakers have agreed to install speed cameras in highway work zones throughout Pennsylvania on an experimental basis.

The state Senate on Tuesday voted 47-1 to concur with the changes made to Senate Bill 172 by the state House of Representa­tives. The vote sends the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, where he has said he will sign it into law.

The measure authorizes the creation of a five-year pilot program to employ automated speed enforcement system cameras in highway work zones. The cameras to be installed will be operated by a vendor to be contracted by PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. They will have either radar, a radio-microwave device or light detection and ranging device (LIDAR) used to determine the speed of vehicles. PennDOT and the PTC are required to post on their websites what work zones will employ the ASES cameras.

The use of LIDAR by the state police for all of its speed enforcement throughout the state is also authorized by SB172.

For the work zone pilot program, the first violation by 11 miles per hour or more will produce a warning to the offender. A second offense carries a $75 fine, while a $150 fine will be assessed for third and subsequent offenses. Violations can only occur in active work zones, and notices of such violations will be sent to the vehicle owner within 90 days of the offense.

Speed camera offenses will not be considered moving violations and will not be reflected on an individual’s driving record nor be used to impose surcharges on a person’s motor vehicle insurance coverage.

For those accused of a violation, the legislation also stipulates what will be considered a valid defense by the accused violator.

The vehicle owner can show the vehicle was reported stolen to law enforcement prior to the violation and not yet recovered; the person receiving the violation can provide evidence they were not the owner of the vehicle at the time of the violation; or it can be argued the equipment used to determine vehicle speed was not in compliance with PennDOT rules for accuracy, certification or calibration.

During the first three years of the program, the funding, once administrative costs are deducted, will be distributed as follows: 45 percent for the state police, 40 percent for the state’s Motor License Fund and 15 percent for PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission.

For years four and five, all of the fines will go to PennDOT and PTC.

COMMENTS