Don’t Get Squeezed
Effective April 17, 2015, members of the Pennsylvania State Police who are stationed on the PA Turnpike will be disguised in PennDOT utility vehicles to enforce speeding violations in work zones. This special enforcement program has been dubbed “Orange Squeeze” and is designed to catch speeders who pose a danger to PennDOT work crews in active construction zones.
In 2013, the last year for which data is available from the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were 16 fatalities in work zones across the Commonwealth. That is 16 lives too many.
Our vehicle code defines an active work zone as “the portion of a work zone where construction, maintenance or utility workers are located on the roadway, berm or shoulder.” Since 2002, any motorist convicted of maximum speed limits (11 mph or more) in an active work zone is subject to fines or points associated with the violation as well as a mandatory license suspension of 15 days. The citations used by the Pennsylvania State Police contain a check box indicating whether or not the violation occurred in an active work zone. Our vehicle code says if this block is checked, PennDOT can presume that the violation occurred in an active work zone and therefore suspend the driver’s license.
Because Pennsylvania law only authorizes radar to be used in a stationary position, the work vehicles containing the trooper and the radar gun as part of “Orange Squeeze” will be parked in the immediate vicinity of the reduced speed zone.
It shouldn’t take the threat of fines, points and a license suspension to get you to slow down in a work zone. Simply take a moment to consider that the people out there are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. Slow down. The punishment is hefty. The consequences could be fatal.
If you have a question about how we can help you with a matter related to traffic law, please call us today.
A Call for Review of Current Commercial Transportation Safety Reporting Practices
By David E. Hershey, Traffic Law Attorney
An effort is underway to review the way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) system collects and reports trucking statistics as it relates to individual company records for at-fault crashes and issues potentially not related to safety.
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District has re-introduced HR1371 that would temporarily halt the publication of safety scores until the CSA scoring system is revamped. Proponents of the measure believe there are a number of weaknesses under the current CSA reporting system:
- Safety data is collected and scored against companies that have employees involved in crashes even if those crashes were not their fault (i.e. they were rear-ended.)
- Old safety data is retained and held against a company for three years even if the at-fault driver is immediately terminated.
- Since the data is weighted on the overall number of inspection reports received, small companies with one at-fault accident are treated more harshly than large companies that may have at-fault accidents but also have a higher volume of routine inspection reports sent into the FMCSA with no violations indicated.
- The current system does not differentiate scoring of freight haulers from passenger haulers (i.e. buses).
Barletta’s proposal, which has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, would block public access to CSA for at least one year until the National Academy of Public Administration completes a report addressing these and other issues.
If you believe your company has been affected by the existing CSA reporting practices, or if you or a member of your transportation team is facing legal action that could impact their commercial driving record, contact us today. We have handled more than 2,000 traffic cases in South Central Pennsylvania since 1987. We can help you keep moving forward.