PennDOT’s New Program is Helping to Curb Speeding Drivers in Work Zones

November 17, 2020

No cars, no cares. That seems to be the ongoing consensus from drivers all across the country as the Coronavirus pandemic rages on. Speeding is nothing new but for many drivers, the need for speed has drastically increased as the number of cars on the road decreased due to the closures of schools and many businesses. According to the National Safety Council, the number of deaths per mile driven have increased during the pandemic, along with a spike in speeding violations in many jurisdictions across the country. 

Read more: Empty Roads During the Pandemic Lead to Higher Rate of Traffic Fatalities

Missouri Offers Unique Perspective on Speeding During the Pandemic

Jonathan Nelson, a safety official with the Missouri Department of Transportation recently spoke at a webinar titled, “Too Fast for Conditions: A Conversation on Speeding,” and said that speeding is “second nature to some drivers.” He continued, “I think people just like to feel in control. That’s really a hard psyche to overcome.” It brings up an interesting perspective as many business owners, employees and families may have felt out of control due to their state’s lockdowns to try and mitigate the spread of the novel Coronavirus. While this may be understandable, the bottom line is that speeding is a reckless behavior that can have disastrous consequences for all the parties involved. In fact, according to the NHTSA, speeding accidents killed over 9,000 people in 2018 alone. 

According to Nelson, approximately 33% of all motor vehicle accidents in the Show-Me-State are attributed to speeding, however that number jumped up to about 40% since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in March. Furthermore, according to Nelson, there has been a 56% increase in tickets for drivers who speed more than 26 mph over the designated speed limit. Because of this epidemic, the state of Missouri joined four neighboring states back in July to implement a speeding enforcement blitz; the blitz resulted in about 30,000 speeding tickets and another 30,000 warnings in one month’s time. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Speaks Out

Jonlee Anderele, an administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration talked about what he calls “speed culture.” He is quoted as saying, “Speeding is nothing new. It’s been around forever. It isn’t just a traffic problem. It’s a community problem. It’s a safety problem.” 

According to Anderele, he and several others said that all levels of government have to treat this speeding epidemic with the same level of concern and urgency that they approached wearing seatbelts and trying to curb drunk and distracted driving. According to Mr. Anderele, there is a lot of awareness and federal programs that are tackling these issues but there is nothing to combat excessive speeding. According to Anderele, he said “If people see law enforcement putting out the message [that] speeding will not be tolerated, they will slow down.” 

Read more: Do I Have a Car Accident Claim?

PennDOT Employs a New Program

According to Daniel Farley, the chief of PennDOT’s Traffic Operations Deployment and Maintenance, they have seen some success in reducing excessive speeding in work zones since deploying vehicles with electronic monitoring equipment earlier this year. According to Farley, after a driver is issued an initial warning, the system issues tickets by mail to drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 11 miles per hour; Farley attributes transparency as the reason for the program’s success. Not only are enforcement areas extensively marked, but each speeding violation is reviewed at several levels to ensure accuracy before being sent out to drivers. Through the month of October, the program has cited 226,378 drivers for driving a minimum of 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Repeat offenders had to pay $75 for their second offense and $150 for their third. According to Farley, setting fines at the right level is a crucial part in curbing speeding. He said, “we found the fine doesn’t hit home unless it hits pretty hard.” 

Studies showed that more than half of all Pennsylvania drivers exceeded the speed limit in work areas, with about 17% of them going more than 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. While this is still a huge number, it is a dramatic decrease from the numbers the program saw back in May; in May, five deployments generated 244 violations per monitor, with 31% of drivers going over the speed limit whereas in October, 101 deployments averaged 181 violations with 21% of drivers going over the speed limit. According to Farley, fewer drivers speed in areas where they are passive barriers such as cones in contrast to concrete barriers where drivers feel more comfortable speeding in work zones. While the program has seen drivers going more slowly inside work zones in Western Pennsylvania, there is still much that has to be done. 

Read more: What To Do When Car Accidents Happen

If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident that was caused by a speeding or reckless driver, you have rights. Don’t delay in seeking justice and pursuing compensation. The law firm of Goodrich & Geist, P.C. can help you get started on your claim. 

Contact A Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case In Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of car accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 564-4770 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Avenue, Pittsburg, PA, 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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