The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has announced the implementation of a program to reduce speeding in work zones using mobile radar and camera technology deployed on white SUVs.
The location of the enforcement vehicles will be posted on the CTDOT website ahead of placement, with ongoing enforcement will also have signage 500 feet and 200 feet before the SUV to alert motorists.
Statistics from the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse show in 2020, the last year of nationally available data, there were 774 fatal crashes in work zones resulting in 857 deaths. Out of the 857 fatalities, 117 were work zone workers demonstrating that the vast majority of those killed were drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians.
Similar speed enforcement programs have led to positive results in other states. Pennsylvania began continuously enforcing its Automated Speed Enforcement in Active Work Zones program in April 2020. That year, Pennsylvania saw more than a 19% reduction in work zone crashes. Two years after Maryland launched its SafeZones program in 2010, speeding violations in SafeZones construction sites decreased by more than 80%. Work zone-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries were at their lowest in over 10 years.
The CTDOT speed enforcement system
To begin with the speed safety systems will be active in no more than three designated locations at any one time and can be located within the limits of active highway work zones where the posted work zone speed limit is 45 mph or greater.
The system uses radar to identify vehicles traveling 15 mph or above the posted work zone speed limit. Cameras then capture a series of images of these vehicles, with the rear license plates used to identify registered owners. If vehicle occupants are visible in any images, those images will be masked. Additionally, data collected by the speed safety systems is used strictly for this program – no data is used for surveillance or any other law enforcement purposes.
If the information captured by the speed safety systems is determined to be accurate, a warning or citations will be mailed to the registered owners of the vehicle captured by the systems. The citations are called Notices of Liability. First offenses will result in a written warning with no fine. Second offenses will result in a Notice of Liability along with a $75 fine, and every offense after that will result in a $150 fine.
It will become active on April 10, 2023, in Connecticut at work zones in Norwalk and East Hartford, followed by the Route 8 corridor between Shelton and Seymour shortly thereafter.
“This program may be new to Connecticut, but it has been implemented elsewhere in the northeast, and the evidence is clear: these systems work. DOT employees, construction workers, laborers, and emergency responders, put their lives on the line every day working on our roadways,” says Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioner Garrett Eucalitto. “Our goal is to ensure everyone makes it home safe after their shift, and we’ll keep pushing to use the tools proven to reduce crashes and save lives. I want to thank Governor Lamont and members of the General Assembly for supporting this program and prioritizing safety for those working on our roadways.”
In addition to using speed safety systems, CTDOT is encouraging all who drive on Connecticut roadways to know the zone by being aware of work zones and how to travel through them safely. At first sight of orange, drivers should be more alert, slow down, and follow posted speed limits and work zone instructions. Drivers also need to be aware of emergency responders on the roadway and follow the state’s Move Over Law. When approaching emergency responders, drivers must slow down and change lanes.