Connecticut lawmakers are trying to slow speeding in construction zones with cameras

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State lawmakers in the House are looking to pass legislation that could include speed cameras for work zones.

They’re working on the Implementer bill, which is basically instructions on how to spend the budget, and in there, it includes a pilot program that will allow the state to mount cameras at construction zones to catch speeders. They say it’s all in an effort to make their work environment safer.

Road construction is one of the most dangerous jobs, according to the federal highway administration  More than 700 people a year are killed nationwide in highway work zones. Connecticut lawmakers trying to slow speeds between the orange cones. The plan is to put up cameras that monitor speed, take snapshots of violators’ license plates, and then send them a ticket in the mail.

“It has thresholds included in it. So that it is not catching people who are going one or two miles an hour over the speed limit, but people who are actually dangerously above the speed limit,” said Senator Will Haskell, chair of the Transportation Committee.

You don’t have to tell retired police Lieutenant Steven Estes how dangerous road jobs are, he got hit by a bus while directing traffic, and he says highway jobs are some of the most dangerous.

“And the other problem with significant with highway construction jobs, a lot of them are done at night. So now you add darkness to the mix and drunks,” said retired police officer Lt. Stephen Estes.

He also believes the cameras are not as good as actual officers on the job. He said the cameras have both pros and cons.

“You’ve got a machine doing the job that a human should be doing, which has no discretion, and it has no business just taking picture after picture of everybody, in order to get the speeders it has to be recording everyone,” Lt. Estes added.

If it goes into effect, the cameras will be placed on highways, on state roads, wherever there’s roadwork going on. The idea is to provide a safe work environment. However, the ACLU has had problems with speed cameras from the start because they say it invades privacy.

“It would be capturing essentially the car, the license plate, it wouldn’t be capturing your face,” said transportation committee chair Will Haskell.

News 8 asked lawmakers whether they can take these cameras out of the construction zone and just put them out on the highway every couple of miles to expand the program. They said that with the way the law works right now, it’s only for work zones and it’s only a pilot program. They would have to bring the law back to the State Capitol and lawmakers would have to vote on it to expand it.

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