Operation Hardhat Aims to Keep Work Zones Safe
In August 2019, the New York State Police Department, New York State Thruway Authority and Department of Transportation launched a campaign targeting motorists violating construction work zone laws and highlighting the importance of safe driving through work zones.
The campaign, known as Operation Hardhat, entailed state police dressing up as construction workers in 28 New York Department of Transportation work zones and four zones along the New York State Thruway between August and November 2019.
The troopers identified work zone violations and radioed ahead to troopers down the road. During the campaign, the state police issued 1,048 tickets.
In addition to enforcing work zone speed limits, cell phone violations and seat belt violations, the troopers were also on the lookout for violations of the state’s Move Over Law. The Move Over Law requires motorists to move over for emergency and work vehicles (or, if moving over isn’t possible, slow down and give the workers room to operate).
“Unfortunately, not everyone does the right thing when they’re behind the wheel and we want to get this message out that our folks are in a vulnerable spot on the side of the road and we want people to do the right thing when they’re driving,” said Bryan Viggiani of the New York Department of Transportation to local news station WNYT.
At the conclusion of the program, police reported issuing fewer tickets as the program went on. The operation also gave state police an inside look at the dangers in work zones.
“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,” said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in an official press release issued at the conclusion of the program.