Today, as he does every year during Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the results of New York State’s Operation Hardhat – an initiative conducted to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving when encountering road construction and maintenance.
And again, as with every year, an unacceptable amount of violations rolled in over a mere five day period. 444 tickets were issued between April 26 and April 30. That’s 444 instances where drivers completely disregarded the safety of the men and women who were simply doing their job to keep New York State’s highways safe.
Per a statement issued by the Governor’s office: “The enforcement and educational efforts come as New York State continues to experience a rising number of work zone intrusions, including three recent crashes that injured six highway workers just last week.”
While our organization certainly appreciates Operation Hardhat’s enforcement and education efforts and drawing attention to the magnitude of this issue – it’s time for real action that will help stop drivers’ dangerous behavior in work zones.
For two years, the New York State Laborers’ Union has backed legislation that would implement a photo enforcement program in work zones to enforce the speed limit and fine drivers who don’t comply. Similar programs utilized across the country have drastically reduced injuries and deaths in work zones, and dramatically curbed speeding violations.
New York State’s roadway workers deserve more than five day crackdowns. The legislature must pass and the Governor must sign work zone photo enforcement legislation.