State DOT targeting drivers who speed in work zones

The New York State Department of Transportation is watching you while you drive through construction zones. It’s part of a new five-year pilot program to ticket drivers who speed in active work zones.

News 10 NBC’s Eriketa Cost spoke to Eddy Metidieri of Irondequoit, who said she felt wrongly fined.

Metidieri said she got a $50 fine for speeding in a construction zone on Route 104. She said there were no construction workers in the area at the time, and no signs informing her of the law.

“I was driving down 104, wasn’t speeding, overly, over the speed limit and no sign, no anything, and then two three days ago I got this in the mail,” she said.

Metidieri said when she first got the letter, she tried to remember that moment. She said she was going 68 mph in a 55 mph highway.

The program has only been in play for about four months. For the first 30 days of the program, drivers received warnings in the mail for speeding. Now, people like Metidieri are getting fined.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed the program into law in September of 2021, after a year of more than 378 instances when cars crossed into a work zone on state roads — 50 of which resulted in injuries.

“If I were speeding and there were an actual warning there, I would take it and I would pay it all day long,” Metidieri said. “I just think it’s not fair, because there was no warning.”

The system uses radar to identify any car that’s speeding, triggering a camera to take a snapshot. Metidieri said her options to fight the ticket are limited.

She can dispute only if the car is stolen, leased to someone other than the owner, or sold prior to the date of violation.

“I have not paid it yet, because I want proof that there was a sign up at the time,” she said.

“If the program is there to protect workers, why do you have a camera there if the workers aren’t there? Because I think most people are respectful of people putting their lives in danger by standing on 104.”

A spokesman with the NYSDOT wouldn’t address this instance, but said signs are posted in work zones and that vehicles are ticketed only if they’re going ten miles above the speed limit.

A full statement reads:

• “There is nothing more important to the New York State Department of Transportation than the safety of our workers and contractors. Together with our partners at the Thruway Authority, we are committed to using every tool at our disposal to keep them safe and the Automated Work Zone Speed Monitoring Pilot Program is part of that effort.

• “The program is intended to protect the lives of our work crews and the traveling public. As we have stated, a total of 30 speed violation monitoring systems will be positioned in active work zones on access-controlled highways in New York State – 20 on NYSDOT maintained roads and 10 on the New York State Thruway. Locations are determined on a daily basis depending on work schedules, weather conditions and other factors.

• “Signs are placed in advance of the selected work zones alerting motorists to the presence of the cameras and vehicles detected exceeding the posted work zone speed limit by 10 miles-per-hour or more will receive notices of liability, in accordance with the law. We urge all motorists to remain alert in work zones and obey all posted speed limits.”