State police will be trading in their cruisers for construction vehicles this week to help monitor unsafe behaviors like speeding and distracted driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Troopers from Troop T will be in construction vehicles to monitor work zones, looking for motorists ignoring work zone speed limits, officials said in a release.
The enforcement, dubbed “Operation Orange Squeeze,” is an initiative the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission started almost a decade ago with state police to make the safety of construction workers and turnpike work crews a priority.
Last year saw eight reported work zone intrusions in turnpike work zones, resulting in two injuries. Officials said 45 turnpike workers have lost their lives on duty since 1940.
“A key part of our joint mission is our ongoing commitment to safety,” said Mark Compton, turnpike commission CEO. “While we implement many safety measures in our work zones for the safety of both our workers and customers, we need drivers to work with us to ensure work zones are safe for everyone. That’s why we urge motorists to slow down and never drive distractedly, especially in work zones.”
In April, the first Operation Orange Squeeze conducted on the turnpike since before the pandemic resulted in troopers issuing 436 citations, 395 warnings and two DUI arrests, officials said.
“The goal is to make sure people are aware,” said Cpl. Joe May of Troop T. “It’s not so much the enforcement side of things but the safety aspect and how important it is to slow down.”
Officials said motorists caught driving 11 mph or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed automatically lose their license for 15 days.
Officials noted that fines for certain traffic violations — including speeding, driving under the influence and failure to obey traffic devices — are doubled for active work zones.
The law also provides for up to five years of additional jail time for people convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash in an active work zone, they said..
Source: Berkshire mont