From: For Construction Pros, Authored by Jessica Lombardo October 1, 2021

The state of New York will soon install cameras in road work zones that will monitor drivers to make sure they’re not speeding. If they are, the camera alone could result in a ticket.

Every year, thousands of hard-working men and women participate in street, highway and bridge projects across the nation. These workers put their lives at risk to repair, maintain and build the infrastructure necessary to keep our country moving.

While all roadwork is temporary, the decisions – and mistakes – those drivers make in work zones can have a lasting impact. Each year, there are unfortunately over 100 worker deaths as a result of crashes in work zones. Many of these accidents are due to speed and distracted driving from the motorist.

In an effort to help deter these events, the state of New York will soon install cameras in road work zones that will monitor drivers to make sure they’re not speeding. If they are, the camera alone could result in a ticket.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill authorizing the cameras in September and the pilot program began. This will determine how automatic speeding tickets work in work zones and whether stronger enforcement cuts down on injuries and deaths.

The program will also gather data on how much money the cameras save on labor costs compared with speeding enforcement by police.

In New York there were 3,450 accidents in work zones on highways between 2010 and 2016, according to the bill. Fifty people died and over 1,100 workers and motorists were hurt.

The bill noted that speed cameras in other states have helped reduce accidents. Maryland started using them in 2010 and driver speeds dropped 10%.

The state also saw a 59% drop in the likelihood of a someone driving faster than 10 mph over the speed limit. That resulted in a 39% decrease in the likelihood of an accident leading to an injury that incapacitated someone and a 45% drop in the number of deaths from work zone-related crashes.

Drivers Most At Risk

While the main goal of these efforts is to keep workers and the traveling public safe, drivers need to know that they are the ones most at risk from these crashes. Drivers and passengers – not workers – make up the vast majority of those either hurt or killed. In 2019, there were over 842 total fatalities as a result of work zone crashes. 135 of those were workers, but the rest were motorists driving recklessly in these work zones.

It’s in every driver’s best interest to stay focused and patient – especially in work zones. Keep in mind that even at a reduced speed limit of 55 mph, a vehicle travels 80 feet per second and can clear a football field in the time it takes to glance at a phone or a radio dial. Combine the speed factor with narrow, shifting lanes and the chances of a crash can dramatically increase. These cameras will hopefully help.

“The safety of workers on our roads is extremely important,” Bill Magnarelli (R-Syracuse) said in a press release when Hochul signed the bill. “Creating a system of cameras to record speed violations in work zones is one step of protecting these workers. Speed and distractions are deadly. Using photo monitoring devices identifies those who break the law and put our highway workers in jeopardy.”

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