New York Testing Automated Work Zone Speed Cameras

As part of the state’s 2023 National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign, the New York Department of Transportation and New York State Thruway Authority jointly launched an “Automated Work Zone Speed Monitoring” pilot program that aims to slow down motorists traversing highway work zones.

[Above photo by the New York Governor’s Office]

The pilot program involves a total of 30 speed violation monitoring systems that rely on radar technology positioned in active work zones along New York State highways, with 20 of them located on NYSDOT-maintained roads and the remaining 10 on New York State Thruway-managed roads.

Photo by NYSDOT

For the first 30 days of the pilot, speeding motorists will be issued warnings, with actual “Notices of Liability” being issued 30 days after the initial rollout. License plate images and speed data collected will be sent to NYSDOT and the Thruway within a week, with violation fines issued to the vehicle’s registered owner by mail.

Vehicle owners who are New York State residents will receive notice in the mail within 14 business days of the violation instance, while those who live out of state will receive notice within 45 days. Images of the driver or contents of the vehicle will not be documented by the camera system, NYSDOT said.

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) noted in a statement that New York State has experienced a rising number of work zone speed violations in recent years, resulting in numerous highway worker injuries and several deaths among state and contractor personnel.

Gov. Hochul. Photo by the New York Governor’s Office.

By launching the program during National Work Zone Awareness Week, she said the state is “further highlighting the importance of safe driving” when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along highways.

“As we officially kick off construction season in New York … this new pilot program will be instrumental in encouraging safe driving habits in highway work zones and protecting the lives of those who help maintain a safe and reliable highway system,” the governor noted.

NYSDOT and the Thruway are also launching a comprehensive public awareness campaign to include various advertising and social media opportunities that target drivers across the state. The campaign will utilize billboard advertisements, broadcast and streaming radio, Waze, and more to highlight to the new program and improve motorist compliance with traffic safety laws in highway work zones.

Marie Therese Dominguez. Photo by the New York Governor’s Office.

“The women and men who work in highway construction and maintenance work zones are noble public servants who make it possible for the rest of us to travel safely to our destinations across New York State,” stressed NYSDOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.

“It is everyone’s job to keep our highway maintenance workers safe. Drivers need to operate their vehicles at safe speeds and know that the speed limit will be enforced because lives depend on it – yours and theirs,” she said. “This new program will give us the tools to better monitor violations within our construction and maintenance work zones, and serve as a reminder that we all need to slow down, put our phones down and above all, be alert.”

The latest edition of a yearly survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and software firm HCSS in May 2022 found that 64 percent of highway contractors said motor vehicles crashed into their construction work zones during the past year.

Photo by the Tennessee DOT

According to the survey, motorists are in even greater danger from work zone crashes versus construction workers. While 18 percent of the highway contractors participating in the survey experienced crashes that resulted in injury to their workers, more than twice as many firms – 41 percent – reported experiencing a crash in which vehicle drivers or passengers were injured.

Motorists and their passengers are also twice as likely as highway workers to die in work zone crashes, the survey found. While 7 percent of contractors in the survey report that construction workers died in work zone crashes, 15 percent of survey respondents said drivers or passengers died in those crashes.

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