‘Operation Hardhat’ to target reckless driving in work, construction zones through end of month

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State police and local law enforcement agencies will crackdown on reckless driving in construction and work zones through the end of April. The crackdown is part of “Operation Hardhat” for National Work Zone Awareness Week. The crackdown will last from April 26 to Friday, April 30. New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said state police patrols, Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority workers will enforce work zone speed limits and ensure motorists are obeying flag personnel.

“More and more New Yorkers will take to the roads as our state’s economy gradually reopens and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that means it’s going to become even more important to ensure everyone is driving safely,” Cuomo said in a statement. “During National Work Zone Awareness Week, it’s critical to remember the dangers that transportation workers and law enforcement personnel face on our highways and that we do everything we can to support them. New York State has zero tolerance for drivers who endanger our dedicated workforce and, through Operation Hardhat, we will make it clear that anyone who disregards these laws will be held accountable.”

In the 2020 Operation Hardhat campaign, authorities said 1,770 tickets were issued by state police, surpassing the 2019 numbers by nearly 70%.

The Department of Transportation is also launching a new social media campaign to highlight work zone employees and their families.

The DOT is also using portable rumble strips at every work zone to prevent distracted driving. Work zone cameras are also being installed, officials said.

The Thruway Authority is deploying a dozen new trucks throughout its four maintenance divisions across the state. The new trucks feature enhanced technology that will improve work zone safety, officials said. This includes large radar board displays to alert upcoming drivers of speed limit changes, as well as wider reinforced buckets with swing gates to allow for easier and safer placement or removal of traffic cones and barrels.

“Our maintenance crews encounter close calls on the road almost every day. Just this year alone, there have been three work zone intrusions involving Thruway Authority maintenance staff and vehicles with flashing lights ,and fortunately they were not injured, but let’s be clear: this is simply unacceptable,” said Matthew J. Driscoll, executive director of the Thruway Authority.

“Day in and day out, roadside workers and emergency responders risk their lives in order to keep us safe on the road. Please pay attention when driving and be alert through work zones. Nothing is worth risking someone else’s life.”

Officials said fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, and two or more speeding violations in a work zone can result in a driver’s license suspension.

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