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Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras

The SUV used for the automated speed enforcement camera
Drivers will see a sign and
small SUV in work zones
where WSDOT is using
Automated Traffic Safety
Camera for speed enforcement.
See more photos on Flickr

Sign posted for photo enforcement

Note: This program is no longer operational. The information on this page is for historical reference only. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) received Legislative direction (see section 216) to put Automated Traffic Safety Cameras (ATSC) in work zones when workers are present. 

The speed enforcement cameras slow drivers to make work zones safer for workers, drivers and passengers.

Guidelines and Reports

Lower speeds means safer drivers and workers

There are close to 2,000 traffic incidents each year in state highway work zones. The top two reasons for work zone crashes are speeding and inattentive driving.

How does Automated Traffic Safety Camera program work?

When active, signs (as seen right) notify drivers of camera enforcement through the work zone.

Located in an SUV within an active construction work zone, the ATSC radar and camera unit records the speed and photographs the rear license plate of vehicles speeding through the active work zone. An operator monitors the system and forwards violator information to the Washington State Patrol (WSP).

The WSP then checks the vehicle registration, forwards the information to the local court system and the vehicle's registered owner receives a $137 citation.

WSDOT launched the ATSC pilot project in September 2008 in the Interstate 5 widening project in Chehalis, an area known for speed violations. More than 1,400 violations were issued, there were zero traffic incidents and 90 percent of drivers were traveling slower than 70 m.p.h. 

In 2009 the cameras were used in the construction zone on I-5 south of Olympia near Grand Mound . More than 1,900 infractions were issued.

In September, 2012, the cameras were active on I-90 in the the five-mile work zone I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East – Hyak to Keechelus Dam project  where 504 infractions were issued. 

Slow Down: Protect workers, protect your passengers, protect yourself

WSDOT's Give 'em a Brake program may focus on worker safety and how drivers should watch out for workers, but the majority of work zone fatalities and injuries are drivers and passengers (non-workers) - accounting for 99 percent of the total in 2009.

Injuries to driver and passenger injuries in work zones have increased by close to 30 percent since 2004, while there was only one flagger/roadway worker killed on a state highway from 2004 to 2009.

As the weather warms and more workers are out on Washington's roadways, the incidents increase each month - with more incidents in August than any other month.

Tips for Driving in a Work Zone:

  • Observe the posted speed limit (60 mph) and don’t do anything except drive while you’re in the work zone.
  • Don’t use your cell phone
  • Don’t eat or drink
  • Don’t change CD’s or radio stations
  • Don’t tailgate! Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

To read more facts and tips on driving through a work zone, please visit our “Give ‘Em A Brake” website.