Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the New York State Police issued a total of 1,048 tickets statewide during special traffic enforcement details targeting motorists who drive recklessly through work zones. "Operation Hardhat" is a joint initiative between State Police, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority, to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along state highways.
"Our first responders and highway workers are out every day for one reason - to ensure the rest of us can get where we need to go safely," Governor Cuomo said. "Please use common sense and put away smart phones, slow down and move over for those working on our roads. Those who drive recklessly and endanger others will be held accountable."
During "Operation Hardhat," New York State Troopers dressed as highway workers while stationed in active work zones, targeting motorists who were not following posted work zone speed limits and other restrictions, jeopardizing the safety of highway workers and other travelers.
State Police conducted 28 separate details at DOT operated work zones, and additional four details along the length of the New York State Thruway, starting in August and continuing through early November. A total of 1,048 tickets were issued, including 493 for speeding, 92 for cell phone use and 72 violations of New York's Move Over law. Here is a breakdown:
1,048 Total tickets issued
- 493 Speeding
- 94 Seatbelts
- 92 Cell Phone
- 72 Move Over
- 2 Child Restraint
- 2 Failure to Obey Flagger
- 8 Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device
- 2 DWI
- 283 Other violations
Additional "Operation Hardhat" enforcement details will be scheduled when construction season resumes next spring.
"Our ultimate goal is to ensure motorists understand that safety must always be the priority when they are behind the wheel," stte police superintendent Keith M. Corlett said. "Speeding and distracted driving create unnecessary danger for everyone on the road. We urge all motorists to slow down, move over and use extreme caution when encountering road work or emergency operations along the highway."
"Highway safety is a shared responsibility between our workers and the traveling public. Department of Transportation maintenance staff are out there every day performing a critical service for the traveling public, and in turn we expect the public to follow the rules of the road to keep our workers safe," state department of transportation commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez added. "Operation Hard Hat helped send a message to the traveling public that if you violate this shared responsibility there will be consequences. Working with our partners at New York State Police, we had great initial results, but this is just the beginning of our campaign. Look for us again when the snow melts next spring."
New York State Thruway Authority executive director Matthew J. Driscoll summed up the program stating that "It only takes a moment of your time to remain alert and slow down when driving in a work zone. Maintenance workers and emergency responders risk their lives each day to make the roads safer and they simply want to go home safely at the end of their shifts. I commend the State Police for their hard work and dedication during Operation Hardhat and for protecting our workers and motorists each day."
Construction and maintenance crews across the state work alongside fast-moving traffic each day, knowing their lives depend on drivers being alert, patient and cautious. It is critically important that motorists eliminate distractions, pay attention to driving and, on multi-lane highways, move over a travel lane to give highway workers room. New York's Move Over Law requires motorists to carefully slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, and construction and maintenance vehicles stopped along the roads.The State Department of Transportation recently launched a new Public Service Announcement highlighting the importance of moving over in construction work zones across the state.
Over the summer, the Thruway Authority also released a new PSA featuring Sally Deming, the widow of Ron Deming. Deming, of Little Falls, was tragically killed while working on the New York State Thruway in October 2016. The PSA also features Thruway Authority Maintenance employees who were involved in work zone incidents in 2019. The PSA was funded by a grant through the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the New York State Broadcasters Association and has been aired hundreds of times on TV stations across the state and on social media. Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, and in accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver license. Work zone safety tips can be found here. For real-time travel information, motorists should call 511, visit www.511NY.org or download the free 511NY mobile app.