Not so fast.
New York State Police troopers going undercover as construction workers in work zones dished out nearly 2,000 tickets for various violations during a special “Operation Hardhat” detail.
Beginning in July and stretching through November, State Police teamed with the New York State Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority to crack down on work zone violations and encourage safer driving.
During the special detail, a total of 1,779 tickets were handed out, with dozens in each of the state’s regions, officials noted. The number of violations issued was approximately 70 percent more than last year’s “Operation Hardhat,” when 1,048 tickets were written.
“Safety is always our top priority at the Department of Transportation and I can't thank our partners in law enforcement enough for the work they are doing to help protect our team members,” NYSDOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said.
“Our highway crews and contractors work in dangerous conditions to keep our roads and bridges safe so that we can all get where we need to go safely and efficiently.”
Under “Operation Hardhat,” 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.
“Preventing tragedies takes everyone working together, so while the state will continue to crack down on those who endanger those working on our roadways, I am urging all New Yorkers to not only obey the speed limit and other traffic laws, but to do the right thing and use care while traveling through work zones,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement
During the five-month detail, troopers spent a total of 243 hours undercover. The breakdown of tickets that were issued:
- Speeding: 618;
- Other violations: 516;
- Cellphone violations: 297;
- No seatbelts: 187;
- Failure to move over: 141;
- Failure to obey a traffic control device: 17;
- DWI: 1.
“The results of this year's Operation Hardhat mobilization underscore the importance of this enforcement campaign,” DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark Schroeder said.
“Highway workers put their lives on the line so that the rest of us have access to safe roads and bridges,” he added. “We owe it to them to drive safely in work zones so they can do their essential jobs and get back home to their families each night."
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