Over 1K tickets issued under 'Operation Hardhat' initiative to keep highway workers safe in construction work zones

Kimberly Dole
August 27, 2020 - 3:32 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced that state police have issued 1,222 tickets during Operation Hardhat, an 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. 

This total has already surpassed the 1,048 tickets issued by State Troopers during all of 2019, with at least three months left in the construction season. 

"Through Operation Hardhat, we continue to aggressively crack down on work zone violators who put our highway workers in harm's way," Gov. Cuomo said.  "Essential transportation projects and ongoing maintenance activities to keep our highways safe are underway across New York State, and for the safety of our highway workers everyone is obligated to follow the speed limit in work zones and eliminate distractions on the road."  

So far in 2020, state police have conducted 37 separate details at DOT and Thruway-operated work zones beginning in July that are expected to continue through November. A total of 1,222 tickets have been issued, including:

Speeding - 432

Seatbelts - 112

Cell Phone - 192

Move Over - 68

Failure to Obey Flagger - 2

Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device - 10

DWI - 1

Unsafe lane change - 2

Other violations - 403

Additional "Operation Hardhat" enforcement details are currently being scheduled with State Troopers patrolling active highway work zones throughout at locations along interstates and other state highways where maintenance and construction activities are underway.

Under "Operation Hardhat" State Troopers are present within the work zones, dressed as highway maintenance workers, to identify motorists who disobey flagging personnel, speed through the work zone, or violate the state's Move Over Law, which applies to both emergency and maintenance vehicles.

The state's Department of Transportation has also partnered with five upstate law enforcement agencies on separate "Operation Hardhat" initiatives in 2020, which have resulted in 180 tickets issued to motorists, including tickets for speeding, seatbelt violations, cell phone/electronic device use, expired inspections, among other violations.

"I can't thank our partners in law enforcement enough for the work they are doing to keep our DOT workers safe in highway work zones.  At its core 'Operation Hardhat' is an education campaign designed to increase driver awareness as to the consequences of not following the rules of the road in a work zone," State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said.

"Our DOT workers will continue to be out there on our roadways working on projects large and small in the coming months - working to make New York's transportation system safer.  We need all motorists to remember that our team works to keep you safe, so please, keep them safe - slow down and move over," she added.