Randy Yohe Published

Camera Bill For Work Zones Will Stop Speeders, Save Lives

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In West Virginia, the numbers show that too many drivers speed through active work zones, negligently causing deaths and injuries. One proposed bill uses technology to save highway workers’ lives.

Del. Josh Booth, R-Wayne, has a day job as a highway construction worker. So, Booth has both a public and personal interest in sponsoring House Bill 4595.

“I’ve been struck by a car twice, once in Huntington, once in Institute,” Booth said. “There have been 15 fatalities in West Virginia work zones over the past five years and 500 accidents with injuries.”

Booth said excessive speed is the leading cause of worker injuries and death. HB 4595 would set up a camera-assisted enforcement system on multi-lane, high-speed highways.

The system would operate only where workers are present. The camera would only capture rear license plates. Drivers will become informed of the camera systems and work zone safety through a public education awareness campaign, increased signage in construction areas, and notice of work zone camera placement on the WV 511 website.

Booth explained that the West Virginia border states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia have an identical camera work zone speed system up and running. He says it works, but things change when drivers cross that border into the mountain state.

“You bet it does,” Booth said. “They start speeding because they know there’s no monitoring, they know there’s no oversight.”

Mike Clowser, the executive director for the Contractors Association of West Virginia explains that violators caught by camera will first be warned if traveling more than 10 MPH over the speed limit. Clowser said the second violation is a $75 fine and the third violation, a $150 fine.

“This isn’t a ‘gotcha’ plan. Drivers will see signs that say, cameras, cameras, cameras, warning them to slow down.” Clowser said.

Both men said they have seen vehicles go through active construction sites at up to 120 MPH. This isn’t the Daytona 500, it’s highway improvement work that needs to be safe.