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PennDOT: Keeping Speed Restrictions In Place Would Not Have Prevented Turnpike Pileup Crash

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(credit: Chopper 3)

(credit: Chopper 3)

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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s transportation secretary says keeping speed restrictions in place would not have prevented the series of pile-ups that paralyzed the turnpike on Valentine’s Day.

State police have already indicated they will issue citations for traveling too fast for conditions, and some folks have raised the question as to whether the turnpike’s decision to relax speed restrictions may have contributed to the chain-reaction mess that morning. PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, who is also a member of the Turnpike Commission, says emphatically, NO…

“We relaxed ours as well that morning,” Schoch says. “The reality is that as you would know and any other motorist listening to this knows, is that people drive what they perceive to be the safe speed to drive. When we put the restrictions in place, if we don’t lift them once that the roadways have become wet or more passable, the traffic speed picks up anyway.”

Schoch, meanwhile, says refreezing that occurred when the first accident stopped the flow of traffic that morning may have contributed to some of the more minor accidents that occurred down the road.

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