by Liam Niemeyer, Kentucky Lantern
January 30, 2024
FRANKFORT — Adding speed cameras to highway construction zones received a House committee’s approval with bipartisan support Tuesday.
Under House Bill 192, sponsored by Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet would create a three-year pilot program starting in 2025 to add speed cameras to work zones in an effort to discourage speeding and prevent potentially deadly crashes.
The cameras would operate only when construction workers are present. Signage would be installed in work zones notifying drivers of the speed cameras. The cameras would capture the license plates of vehicles speeding in excess of 10 miles an hour through the zones; a “technician” would assess whether the images show a speeding violation in a work zone.
In case of violations, the Transportation Cabinet within 14 days would mail a citation to the vehicle owner with the captured image. The first citation penalty would be $75, with subsequent fines in a three-year period $125 each. The penalties could be appealed.
Blanton, chair of the House Transportation Committee, said the citations would be considered “civil penalties” and not handled by local courts like regular traffic infractions, reducing the administrative costs of processing the fines.
“Let me be very clear — I’m not interested in issuing citations. I’m interested in slowing people down in work zones to protect not just the workers, but quite frankly, to protect other people traveling through these work zones,” Blanton said. “We’ve all been through them. They get narrow. They switch lanes. There’s a reason we need to slow down.”
Rep. Thomas Huff, R-Sheperdsville, one of two votes against the bill in the committee, said he was opposed because of the significant amount of “pushback” he received last year from constituents when a similar bill was being considered. That bill also passed the House Transportation Committee but failed to receive a full House vote.
The legislation is named after Jared Helton, a contract worker for the Tennessee Department of Transportation from Salyersville who died from injuries in 2019 after a car crash in a work zone.
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