How automated speed enforcement could save road worker lives

On this week’s edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, conversations with two people working on initiatives to protect those who build our state’s roads and bridges.

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TMT Player Episode 114

Michigan House Bill 5750 would allow the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State Police (MSP) to set up automated speed enforcement systems in segments of state roads where work is being performed.

John Osika

First, John Osika, a veteran of Operating Engineers 324, representing heavy equipment operators, talks about the need for this legislation and other measures to protect workers. He recently penned an op-ed for Bridge Magazine laying out the reasons he and his colleagues support HB 5750.

He also discusses close calls he observed first-hand while working on projects.

The bill earmarks civil fine revenue from violations of section 627c first to MDOT, by implication for the cost of installing and using automated speed enforcement systems. The bill directs MDOT to deposit civil fine revenue from violations of section 627c in excess of the costs of installing and using automated speed enforcement systems into the Work Zone Safety Fund, established in the bill as a restricted fund for the purpose of improving work zone safety.

Lindsey Renner

Later, Lindsey Renner, MDOT construction operations engineer who is transitioning from her role as work zone manager, talks about the potential benefits of automated speed enforcement. These benefits have been measured in other states, including Maryland where a 2016 report documented a 10 percent reduction in speeds in Montgomery County.

The House Fiscal Agency analysis says the bill would limit use of automated speed enforcement system to streets and highways under MDOT jurisdiction (state trunkline highways) and only in work zones when workers are present. The bill would have no impact on local road agencies.

Podcast photo: Road work ahead sign.
First portrait: John Osika, training director of Michigan-based Operating Engineers 324.
Second portrait: MDOT construction operations engineer.

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