Letter to Editor: Speed Cameras in Work Zones – For Safety or Revenue?

Speed cameras in work zones are for revenue. If not, then why do we not do things like adopt the zipper merge, and post 85th percentile speed limits? Low speed limits cause a decent speed variation between the vehicles, which promotes tailgating, constant passing, and rapidly approaching a vehicle.

Here is Michigan’s strategy. Most freeway work zones have workers behind concrete barriers, so they are not at risk from passing cars. Drivers see the workers are safe. Freeway limits are usually 70 mph, but are sometimes reduced to 60 mph if warranted(if the work areas are close to the travel lanes or there are some minor lane shifts, the basic limit drops by 10 mph.) Then the signs say “45 Where Workers Present”. This forces drivers to look for workers who might be at risk, and slow down near them.  But if all the workers are behind concrete barriers or way down in a wide median away from the traffic lanes, the 45 limit does not apply. This method also eliminates inactive work zones from being used as speed traps.

If Pennsylvania adopted these ideas, true safety could be achieved. The possibility of camera errors is also very real.

Also, who ensures the signs are posted correctly and the speed camera is near the workers?  I have been in many work zones with confusing and incorrect signs.  The end signs are frequently missing also.

James Sikorski Jr.
PA Advocate National Motorists Association

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