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Speed camera program finds about 1 in 5 drivers are speeding through CT work zones

Connecticut DOT
Speed limit enforcement signs indicate enforcement in a work zone. The DOT has seen speeding violations in roughly 20% of nearly a half-million vehicles traveling through posted work zones.

In a matter of weeks, state officials have already mailed out nearly 1,000 warnings to drivers speeding through work zones across Connecticut.

That’s according to preliminary data from the state Department of Transportation (DOT), which has launched an automated speed camera pilot program at pre-selected work zones. All camera locations are posted online and highlighted with signs on the road.

Drivers traveling at or above 15 mph over the work zone speed limit get mailed a warning. Subsequent violations result in a fine.

“We’ve sent close to a thousand warnings out,” said DOT spokesperson Josh Morgan. “We have not sent any citations yet.”

Morgan said the DOT has seen about 450,000 vehicles travel through the posted work zones since the program launched in April. But even though the threshold for a warning is 15 mph, Morgan said a lot of drivers are still speeding.

“We’re seeing about 20% of all vehicle traffic speeding. That could be 5 mph, 10 mph, 14 mph, over and they’re just not quite there at that 15 mph threshold," Morgan said. "But still breaking the law. Still traveling too fast through a work zone."

Morgan said that equates to about 90,000 speeding vehicles.

Morgan said the data raises a question: “Are people seeing the signs and slowing down just enough to get under that threshold?”

Morgan hopes the program will change driver behavior and reduce work zone accidents.

“Over the last four years, [there have been] almost 3,700 work zone crashes just in Connecticut that resulted in 13 fatalities and almost 40 serious injuries,” Morgan said. “Speed is likely the cause of all of these crashes. Distraction and impairment are also a major component.”

The DOT is placing automated speed cameras in work zones across the state through the end of the year.

Both in-state and out-of-state vehicles are subject to warnings and fines.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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