The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 7, 2013

Bill takes aim at work-zone speed: Use of cameras causes some concerns

— Legislation to introduce speed cameras to Pennsylvania highway work zones was recently submitted to the state House, as evidenced by language injected into a transportation bill in the state Capitol.

In short, go too fast in a work zone – areas where traffic fines are already doubled – and a camera will snap a photo of your license plate. You can then expect to be mailed a photo of your car’s backside, along with a ticket.

The bill was proposed by state Rep. Ron Waters, D-Philadelphia, as a means to ensure road crew safety while allowing law enforcement to police elsewhere.

The effectiveness of speed cameras requires technology more sophisticated than a camera that shoots rapid-fire shots at an intersection during a red light and, as such, may lend itself to erroneously filed infractions.

Take the example of a road truck commissioned by AAA that was cited for going 57 in a 25-mph zone. Recorded footage taken from the ticketing camera shows the truck was nearly stopped before an intersection, but the camera thought it was a reckless offense.

“We have concerns about the accuracy of these cameras,” said AAA spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson, who said although her company doesn’t have an official stance on the legislation, it’s important that motorists are not paying a steeper price than is justified.

Other detractors, including a retired Maryland State Highway Administration official, claim the cameras have not been fully tested.

“Automated enforcement has to be set up with safety in mind first and carefully set up so it’s not merely a revenue generator,” Robinson said.

But PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar said speed cameras are not necessarily about money.

“The bottom line is – this is about saving lives,” he said. “If you see revenues go down, then the cameras are working.”

Changing drivers’ mentalities when passing through work zones is, according to Chizmar, the driving force behind the legislation.  

As it stands, Chizmar said about 20 deaths happen each year as a result of work zone accidents – a majority of those deaths were the drivers.

The bill is still very new. Chizmar said it’s too early for a rollout plan to be formulated – it still hasn’t even passed the House.

“Anything put in place would likely be a trial or a study just to see how this would work in Pennsylvania,” he said. “To determine their effectiveness.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week kicks off later this month, with a range of events happening across the state. Chizmar said anything the state can enact to get drivers to ease off the gas is worth exploring.

“Motorists have got to realize that when they pass the work zone, there’s cones and barrels on the road, but also people in those work zones,” he said.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 17, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads