Between January 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2022 there were a total of 2,566 accidents in construction zones throughout the state of Connecticut. Of those 2,566 accidents, 10 resulted in fatalities. It is because of this data that state legislators passed the “Know The Zone” plan which aimed to reduce the number of accidents that occur in a work zone by placing cameras which track the speed of drivers through these zones and then warn or ticket these drivers if they are not obeying the speed limit.
The “Know The Zone” program was piloted last year and according to the Connecticut State Department of Transportation (DOT) it was a success. While it is impossible to determine how many New Haven auto accidents the program prevented from happening it is important to take some time and look at the statistics that were collected as the result of the program which aimed to slow drivers down as they passed through work zones in the state.
The state DOT reported the following numbers after the cameras were placed in three different work zones throughout the state which included a project on the Westport/Norwalk line, I95 in East Lyme and I84 in Waterbury.
- 2,774,478 drivers passed through the work zones that had been equipped with this technology during the period of time that the pilot program was running.
- 541,920 were traveling at a rate of between 1 and 15 MPH over the posted speed limit for the work zone that they were passing through.
- 24,875 were driving 15 MPH over the speed limit or faster through the work zone.
- 724 fines were automatically sent out to drivers who broke the law by speeding through the work zone. Fines ranged between $75 and $150, but there was no data provided about how many of each level of fine were handed out.
This pilot program was noticed to the public through a series of billboards, social media ads and radio ads. The money collected through the fines will be returned to the state to cover the costs of the program. If the DOT wants to continue the program into 2024 it will need to seek new legislation to continue the program in work zones throughout the state.
Whether there are cameras or not in a work zone it is critical that drivers follow the speed limit for these work zones as there are a variety of incidents that could occur while driving through one of these zones. First and foremost, when work is being conducted on these major roads there is often a narrower lane to travel for cars which often reduces reaction time and creates congestion which can lead to more dramatic accidents. Secondly, with worker activity happening throughout these work zones there is greater risk that a vehicle will need to stop suddenly to avoid getting into an accident which can be more difficult at higher speeds. Finally, as traffic may come to a complete stop unexpectedly, traveling at high speeds can put the driver in a difficult position to stop in time to avoid an incident.
Excessive speed is one of the most dangerous activities you can participate in when driving and vehicles traveling over the speed limit will often be involved in the most severe New Haven auto accidents that occur. This reality carries over to vehicles who are traveling in work zones at a speed higher then is posted for traveling.
If you’ve been in an accident and get injured, in a work zone or not, you may need to speak with an attorney who has experience with your type of situation. Contact our office and one of our experienced attorneys will speak with you and work on protecting your long-term interests.