On April 15, 2017, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, coupled with Pennsylvania State Police, launched its annual work-zone safety initiative known as “Operation Orange Squeeze”.
The maximum speed limit in work areas is forty (40) miles-per-hour. Drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike should be on alert whenever they see orange, whether it be cones, signs or barrels.
According to Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mr. Mark Compton, over the last seventy years, over 30 Pennsylvania Turnpike employees have lost their lives while on the job. In the calendar year 2015, 400 motor vehicle accidents occurred in work zones along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Finally, just over the last five years, two Pennsylvania workers were killed in accidents which occurred in work zones along the Turnpike.
In order to curb this unnecessary loss of life, Pennsylvania State Troopers will be confronting the issue of speeding motorists in work zones in a new manner. According to the commander of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop charged with Turnpike patrols, Captain Gregory Bacher, troopers will be dispatched in tandem to target speeding vehicles in work zones. One trooper will be positioned in an orange turnpike construction vehicle. Another trooper will be strategically located just outside the work zone positioned to pull over offenders and issue citations. From the construction vehicles, the troopers will be monitoring speeds of vehicles traveling through the work zones and alerting the other trooper located outside the work zone.
Now, just to give you an idea of how effective the Pennsylvania State Police have been in curbing speeding in work zones, take note of the following statistic: more than 6,000 citations were issued along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in work zones in the year 2015 alone. Furthermore, this is not the first time the Turnpike Commission and State Police have united for Operation Orange Squeeze to combat the problem of speeding in work zones. So, what does this mean for drivers traveling along the Pennsylvania Turnpike? Mainly that the two agencies are prepared and experienced in aggressively confronting this issue head on.
If caught in the “Squeeze”, motorists could face significant penalties. Fines for certain traffic violations in an active work zone, including speeding, are doubled. More importantly, if you are caught driving 11 miles per hour above the posted speed limited in an active work zone, you will lose your license for 15 days. Because this requires you to physically surrender your license to PennDOT upon being convicted, it will likely (see, definitely) take longer than 15 days before you actually get your license back and can then legally drive again in Pennsylvania. Add to all this the fact that you also face the imposition of a 5-point penalty on your driving record, and it should be clear why speeding in a Pennsylvania work zone is such a risky (and needless) proposition.
If you are caught by Operation Orange Squeeze, the attorneys at Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy & O’Connell, LLP can assist you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and what defenses are available. Please call to setup an initial free consultation at (215) 947-6240, or contact us online.
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