June 23 — Senate Bill 840, sponsored by Senator David Argall (R-Berks), which creates a pilot program for automated camera enforcement in work zones, passed unanimously out of Senate Appropriations Committee last night.
Before passage, the committee adopted two amendments to SB 840: first, Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) introduced an amendment to direct the revenue from tickets to the Motor License Fund; second, Senator Argall made some technical changes to the language. Both amendments were adopted unanimously.
The bill would create a five year, sun-setting pilot program for automated enforcement systems on interstate highways during active work times. The highways must be under the jurisdiction of PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission, and enforcement zones will be noted at least twice before a driver enters the work zone. The bill also mandates that the Secretary of Transportation and the Chairman of the Turnpike Commission post a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin before a new speed enforcement system is operational.
Discussion during committee deliberations focused on safety and the logistics of the issuance of violations. Fines will be issued to the owner of the automobile photographed speeding, regardless of who is driving; it is a flat rate of $100 and does not include points to the owner’s license. Violations will not be issued until the driver is speeding in excess of 11 miles per hour.
Senator Browne noted that the expected fiscal impact of the proposal is an additional $20 million to the Motor License Fund. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration; it would then move to the House.
“This is a huge step forward in improving the safety of our highways and freeways,” PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner said. “We urge the full Senate to vote affirmatively on this bill as soon as possible to protect motorists and workers in construction zones.”