The New York State Police issued a total of 1,048 tickets statewide during special traffic enforcement details targeting motorists who drive recklessly through work zones. 'Operation Hardhat' is a joint 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.

"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," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "Please use common sense and put away smart phones, slow down and move over for those working on our roads. Those who drive recklessly and endanger others will be held accountable."

During 'Operation Hardhat', New York State Troopers dressed as highway workers while stationed in active work zones, targeting motorists who were not following posted work zone speed limits and other restrictions, jeopardizing the safety of highway workers and other travelers.

State Police conducted 28 separate details at DOT operated work zones, and additional four details along the length of the New York State Thruway, starting in August and continuing through early November. A total of 1,048 tickets were issued, including 493 for speeding, 92 for cell phone use and 72 violations of New York's Move Over law. Here is a breakdown:

1,048 Total tickets were issued:
  • 493 Speeding
  • 94 Seatbelts
  • 92 Cell Phone
  • 72 Move Over
  • 2 Child Restraint
  • 2 Failure to Obey Flagger
  • 8 Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device
  • 2 DWI
  • 283 Other violations

Additional 'Operation Hardhat' enforcement details will be scheduled when construction season resumes next spring.

State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, "Our ultimate goal is to ensure motorists understand that safety must always be the priority when they are behind the wheel. Speeding and distracted driving create unnecessary danger for everyone on the road. We urge all motorists to slow down, move over and use extreme caution when encountering road work or emergency operations along the highway."

Construction and maintenance crews across the state work alongside fast-moving traffic each day, knowing their lives depend on drivers being alert, patient and cautious. It is critically important that motorists eliminate distractions, pay attention to driving and, on multi-lane highways, move over a travel lane to give highway workers room.

New York's Move Over Law requires motorists to carefully slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, and construction and maintenance vehicles stopped along the roads.

The State Department of Transportation recently launched a new Public Service Announcement highlighting the importance of moving over in construction work zones across the state.

Over the summer, the Thruway Authority also released a new PSA featuring Sally Deming, the widow of Ron Deming. Deming, of Little Falls, was tragically killed while working on the New York State Thruway in October 2016. The PSA also features Thruway Authority Maintenance employees who were involved in work zone incidents in 2019. The PSA was funded by a grant through the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the New York State Broadcasters Association and has been aired hundreds of times on TV stations across the state and on social media.

Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, and in accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver license. Work zone safety tips can be found here.