On Nov. 13, 2007, traffic control contractor Jay Chatley was setting up a construction zone when a speeding driver veered out of control, starting a chain reaction that caused him to suffer permanent injuries requiring around-the-clock care.
As the highway construction industry observes National Work Zone Awareness Week, Jay and his wife, Stacy, joined other members of Associated Pennsylvania Constructors calling for drivers to watch for work zones, slow down and pay attention, and for Pennsylvania lawmakers to revive their efforts to reconcile and approve Senate Bill 172, which provides for automated speed enforcement in highway work zones. Stacy Chatley discussed the accident, the impact it had on their family and business, and her concern for the health and safety of employees of the business, Established Traffic Control, Hatfield, PA, who now include their son. Stacy was joined at the press conference by APC President Max Hempt who told reporters his firm has experienced 13 accidents in three weeks on a project in Dauphin County.
Maryland’s experience proves beyond doubt that automated speed enforcement works. When Maryland’s program began, studies showed that 7 percent of motorists drove through work zones at 12 miles per hour over the speed limit, or faster. Once the state began assessing those vehicle owners $40 fines and drivers became accustomed to the program, the rate dropped to less than 1 percent. Senate Bill 172 draws heavily from Maryland’s program. It is currently awaiting passage by the PA House of Representatives.