Results of ‘Operation Hardhat’ released

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New York Construction Report staff writer

As construction begins to wind down for winter, the year-end results of several initiatives designed to keep highway workers and safe were released, including a new work zone speed enforcement pilot program.

“New York has zero tolerance for negligent or aggressive behavior that endangers our men and women in labor who work hard every day to keep us moving,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Work zone speed limits and other restrictions protect highway workers making our roads safer for everyone, and the actions we have taken this year are proving to be effective.”

In April 2023, as construction season was officially kicking off across the state, an Automated Work Zone Speed Monitoring Pilot Program was introduced at 20 sites operated by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and 10 on the New York State Thruway. The pilot program was intended to improve speed limit compliance and slow vehicles down in work zones.

More information about the pilot program can be found here.

Through November 22, 133,640 notices of liability were issued to motorists across the state, including 95,861 from work zones controlled by the State Department of Transportation and 37,779 from work zones along the New York State Thruway. Both agencies encountered motorists driving at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour through monitored work zones.

Notices of liability by region were distributed as follows:

  • Long Island – 41,709
  • Rochester/Finger Lakes – 32,578
  • New York City – 12,330
  • Albany/Capital Region – 4,616
  • Binghamton/Southern Tier – 1,200
  • Syracuse/Central New York – 1,140
  • Poughkeepsie/Hudson Valley – 1,016
  • Buffalo/Western New York – 849
  • Hornell/Western Southern Tier – 211
  • Watertown/North Country – 113
  • Utica/Mohawk Valley – 99
  • Thruway – 37,779

Under “Operation Hardhat”, State Troopers or local police officers are dressed as highway maintenance workers in active NYSDOT or Thruway work zones across New York, identifying and citing motorists for a number of violations, including disobeying flagging personnel, speeding through work zones, cell phone and seatbelt use, and/or violations of the State’s Move Over law. In 2023, 2,919 tickets were issued by State Police and participating law enforcement agencies during 84 deployments across the state.

See Video Message from Karen Torres, whose father – NYSDOT Maintenance Worker Patrick Mapleson – was Killed in a 2006 Work Zone Crash.

The 2,919 tickets issued during Operation Hardhat this year included the following violations:

  • Speeding – 1,048
  • Cell Phone Usage – 499
  • Seatbelt – 353
  • Failure to Move Over – 230
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device – 18
  • Unsafe Lane Change – 3
  • Failure to Obey Flagger – 1
  • Other Violations – 767

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