MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Be sure to smile, speed cameras approved for state work zones

Apr 6, 2023, 8:47 AM | Updated: 9:57 am

Speed cameras...

Be sure to smile if you’re speeding through a state highway construction zone. Speed enforcement cameras are on their way. (AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

Be sure to smile if you’re speeding through a state highway construction zone. Speed enforcement cameras are on their way.

Governor Inslee has signed a bill that will allow the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Washington State Patrol (WSP) to put up automated speed enforcement cameras in work zones.

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The bill received unanimous support in both the Senate and House of Representatives, with the need for these speed cameras becoming more apparent due to an uptick in traffic collisions on all roadways, including in work zones.

“Folks working on our state highways deserve to do so with the peace of mind that they will end their shift by going home to their families and loved ones,” Sen. Marko Liias’s (D-Everett) said. “These workers are acting every day to ensure our highways are safe for commuters, and we have a duty to keep them safe as well.”

They can only be put up on state highways, including freeways, and they will only be active when workers are present.

Lawmakers want to cut down on the types of accidents that nearly killed Adam Gonzalez, a WSDOT worker sitting in his attenuator truck protecting a work zone.

“The oncoming driver hit me going 70 miles an hour,” Gonzalez said at the bill signing. “Head, shoulder, and hip bashing the steering wheel. I suffered a concussion. I’m fortunate enough to be alive. If I hadn’t been there that night, my crew would most likely have been killed by that reckless driver.”

And it’s not the only time Gonzalez has been hit by a driver while in a work zone.

“I was glad it was me that got hit, not them standing on the road,” Gonzalez said. “I wish I could say this was it, but this is one of two or three crashes I’ve been in.”

In total, 60 WSDOT workers have been killed in work zones.

WSDOT data shows there were 283 minor injury crashes, 28 serious injury crashes and five fatal crashes in work zones in 2021 alone.

The state has a year to get this program up and running. The cameras are expected to be online in July 2024.

Pictures will only be taken of the car and license plate, and infractions will be sent to the registered owner. Signs must be posted informing drivers that they will be entering a work zone enforced with automated cameras. The state must also install “your speed is” signs prior to the work zone.

The money generated from the infractions will go to paying for the system. Anything over that will go to traffic safety education and funding DUI emphasis patrols.

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Be sure to smile, speed cameras approved for state work zones