Group opposes adding speed cameras to construction zones

A battle is brewing over plans to install cameras in construction zones.

The goal is to catch speeders.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says it will keep its workers safe, but opponents say safety's not the motivation: money is.

A new program being considered in Harrisburg could automatically lead to a ticket, an idea proponents say is meant to save lives but which some argue is nothing more than a money grab.


Speeding through a construction zone could lead to a ticket being sent to your home after your license plate is caught on camera.

The two bills being considered would fine drivers caught speeding on-camera either $40 or $100.

Legislators tell Channel 11 the goal is to protect workers, but groups like the National Motorists Association are pushing back, arguing the program will be used as a taxation tool.

"The systems are operated many times when there are no workers present, when all the workers are behind concrete barriers," Jim Walker, with the National Motorists Association, said. "That's about money, it's not about safety."

"Our goal is to make sure our workers get home in one piece at the end of the day," said Angelo Pampena, PennDOT's assistant district executive for maintenance.

He's seen the worst of what speeding in a work zone can do, including two separate crashes that hospitalized two PennDOT workers this summer.

CONSTRUCTION CAMERAS: What do you think about cameras being put in construction zones to catch speeders? Legislators tell me it's likely to happen sooner rather than later, but not everyone is on-board. When it could be coming to PA on 11 at 11.

Posted by Aaron Martin WPXI on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"It's very scary as you're going down there and you're hoping and praying that the employee is OK, it's not a serious injury and they're going to be back to work," Pampena said.

It's unclear what speed would trigger a fine, although a similar program in Maryland fines drivers going 12 mph above the speed limit.

Sources in the state Legislature tell Channel 11 the bill is getting plenty of support from both sides of the aisle and they expect it to pass easily.

We asked viewers what they thought about cameras going in construction zones to catch speeders.

Fifty-one percent of the people who responded said it was a good idea where 44 percent of people said it isn't fair to drivers. Five percent said it didn't bother them.