WA Deploys Work Zone Cams On False Pretext
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) dedicated last week to “Work Zone Safety Awareness” so that it could begin redeploying speed cameras on freeways. Bright orange publicity signs told motorists to “Give ’em a Brake” while fifty-six bright orange highway worker jackets hung from WSDOT offices as a reminder of the number of highway workers who have died since 1950. “The men and women who work on our state and local highways are often working in and near traffic, and we want everyone to go home to their loved ones at the end of their work day,” WSDOT Secretary Paula Hammond said in a statement. According to WSDOT’s own statistics, however, they do go home safely each night.
Ninety-nine percent of “work zone” accidents in the state only affect drivers and their passengers, not workers. Washington’s findings mirror those of national statistics that show automobiles pose far less of a danger to highway workers and that the latter are most frequently killed while operating their own equipment. Even so, no highway worker has died on the job in Washington in the past seven years.
“Pedestrians, flaggers and roadway workers account for only one percent of these injuries or fatalities,” the WSDOT website admits. “Most deaths and injuries in work zones are caused by rear-end collisions.”
When promoting red light cameras, however, Washington state officials downplay the relevance and severity of rear end collisions.
Still, in the name of protecting these workers, the Washington State Patrol will dish out doubled fines for speeding in work zones. The private contractor American Traffic Solutions will also be in the same areas mailing out an even greater number of speeding citations, worth $137 each, from photo radar vans. These ticketing vans were first deployed between September and October last year. This time, ticketing will continue for seven months through October. At the rate tickets were issued in 2008, the vans should issue nearly $1 million worth of citations by year’s end.
WSDOT will deploy the cameras on Interstate Five in Lewis County and will move them south of Olympia to Grand Mound on May 4.
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WVDOT sets up these work zones. They'll drop the speed from 70 mph to 45. The signs or almost without fail incorrect (a "45 MPH Work Zone" sign followed by an uncovered "Speed Limit 70 mph" sign followed by a non-flashing "Speed Limit 55 mph When Flashing" sign followed by two WV state troopers pulling cars over for 47 mph - I see this constantly). Further, they'll set these up without warning, closing lanes with barrels or simply placing barrels along the side of the road for two-three miles and the aforementioned signs. You'll drive through on your commute one day normally, the next day there are barrels and signs everywhere, most haphazardly placed on the shoulder or partially in one of the lanes (it's a fine for hitting a barrel, you cannot collect from the state for damage to your car from hitting one). The "work zone" will remain for 2-3 weeks, not one barrel moving, not one sign changing (oftentimes the "55 when flashing" signs will be 50% flashing, 50% not turned on). The only guarantee you have is that the only state employees you will see in the "work zones" are cops sitting in marked or unmarked cars, usually waiting just over a rise on the shoulder (often at night with no lights on whatsoever) pointing in the direction of travel for a speedy revenue booster. Work zones are almost certainly devoid of actual DOT workers 100% of the time. Then, 2-3 weeks after they go up, the signs and barrels mysteriously disappear overnight, usually moved 5 miles down the road. In their place will be the same pavement, the same signs, the same faded lines that aren't visible in rain or at night, the same potholes, the same grooves, the same dented guardrails from a years-ago accident (never fixed). No change whatsoever. This happens over and over again. Oh, and not worried about the $25-100 fine you recieved? No problem. But then you find out whether you mail it in or not, you must pay state court costs. Even if you decline to contest it and there is no court hearing whatsoever. How much, you ask? Last time I had a ticket here, the fine was $25, the court costs amounted to $351. No joke. We don't have a red light or speed camera in the state, but it doesn't stop the sad-sack politicians from fleecing the populace. This in a state only beaten to the bottom by Katrina-torn Louisiana for median income, obesity, % uninsured, poorest schools, etc., etc., etc. No time/money to fix the actual problems, but our governor is building a multi-million-dollar casino resort destination in one of the poorest over-10,000-resident towns in the state. He is a majority owner, it's being built largely with state funds.
With so much wealth being steered to West Virginia roads by Senator Byrd they can't require much work any longer. WV is a shame, such natural beauty and sully politicians.