Work zone speed monitoring pilot program launches April 17, building on ongoing efforts to enforce safe driving in work zones & protect lives of highway workers
√ NYSDOT, Thruway Authority launch public awareness campaign to educate on new pilot program in work zones
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state will officially commemorate National Work Zone Awareness Week from April 17-21, as construction season kicks off. The theme for 2023 is, "You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us!"
As part of this commemoration aimed at protecting highway workers, an automated work zone speed monitoring pilot program to help enforce speed limits in highway construction and maintenance work zones will officially launch on April 17, a joint initiative between the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority that builds upon ongoing efforts to better protect highway workers. A total of 30 speed violation monitoring systems that rely on radar technology will be positioned in active work zones along state highways – 20 on NYSDOT maintained roads and 10 on the New York State Thruway.
"As we officially kick off construction season in New York, as well as National Work Zone Awareness Week, I thank highway workers across the state who put their lives on the line to maintain and enhance the roads that we all rely on every day," Hochul said. "This new pilot program will be instrumental in encouraging safe driving habits in highway work zones, and protecting the lives of those who help maintain a safe and reliable highway system."
A press release stated, “New York state has experienced a rising number of work zone speed violations in recent years, resulting in numerous highway worker injuries and several deaths among state and contractor personnel. By launching the program during National Work Zone Awareness Week – an annual campaign recognized by the Federal Highway Administration since 2000 – the state is further highlighting the importance of safe driving when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along highways.”
Automated Work Zone Speed Monitoring Pilot Program and Campaign
The automated work zone speed monitoring pilot program was established by legislation signed into law by Hochul. For the first 30 days of the pilot, speeding motorists will be issued warning notices of liability, with actual notices being issued 30 days after the initial rollout. A technology operator for the program was selected following a competitive bidding process.
Under the program, all vehicles detected violating the posted speed limit within a work zone by over an established threshold will be fined. License plate images and speed data collected will be sent to NYSDOT and the NYS Thruway within a week, with violation fines issued to the vehicle's registered owner by mail. Vehicle owners who are New York State residents will receive notice in the mail within 14 business days of the violation instance, while those who live out of state will receive notice within 45 days. Images of the driver or contents of the vehicle will not be documented.
Fines through the pilot program will be issued as follows:
√ $50 for first violation
√ $75 for second violation
√ $100 for third and subsequent violations within 18 months of the first violation
Unpaid fines may result in a vehicle registration hold where drivers will not be able to renew their registrations without first paying their fines. Owners may contest a violation within 30 days of when they received notice. As required by law, 60% of the funds collected by NYSDOT and the Thruway Authority through the program will supplement work zone safety projects.
The State Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority are also launching a comprehensive public awareness campaign to include various advertising and social media opportunities that target drivers across the state. More information about the pilot program can be found here.
A State Police crackdown on work zone violations will take place during National Work Zone Awareness Week, as part of the ongoing "Operation Hardhat" initiative that highlights the importance of safe driving practices in active construction and maintenance work zones. State Troopers will be dressed as highway maintenance workers in active highway work zones on highways across New York where State Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority employees will be performing maintenance and construction activities. DOT, State Police and the Thruway Authority plan to partner on additional unannounced enforcement efforts in construction zones throughout the state during the remainder of the construction season, which typically concludes in October.
Troopers will be present within the work zones 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. In 2022, a total of 3,062 tickets were issued during “Operation Hardhat” details, surpassing the total of 2,336 tickets issued in 2021.
Lighting of Landmarks
The landmarks to be lit tonight in recognition of “Go Orange Day” include:
NYS DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "The women and men who work in highway construction and maintenance work zones are noble public servants who make it possible for the rest of us to travel safely to our destinations across New York state. As someone who travels our state's roads regularly, I value their contributions and I am indebted to them, but it is everyone's job to keep our highway maintenance workers safe. Drivers need to operate their vehicles at safe speeds and know that the speed limit will be enforced because lives depend on it – yours and theirs. This new program, which is being launched during National Work Zone Awareness Week, will give us the tools to better monitor violations within our construction and maintenance work zones, and serve as a reminder that we all need to slow down, put our phones down and, above all, be alert."
Thruway Authority Interim Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said, "Maintenance crews work each day mere inches away from high-speed traffic, and put themselves in harm's way to ensure roads are safe for all drivers. It is everyone's responsibility to slow down and pay attention when driving in a work zone to keep these women and men safe. Work zone speed cameras are another tool in the toolbox to keep our employees and customers safe, and I truly believe lives will be saved as a result."
State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, "Our highway and construction workers put themselves at risk daily as they work to improve the roadways of our state. We have a responsibility to be mindful of the rules of the road and to slow down as we travel through construction zones to ensure the safety and well-being of these workers. I urge all motorists to operate safely by obeying posted speed limits, staying in designated lanes, and being cognizant of workers and equipment in work zones. We will not tolerate violations of the ‘Move Over Law’ and work zone intrusions."
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The safety of New York's roads depends on all of us doing our part to follow the rules of the road and being aware of everyone around us, not the least of which are the men and women out fixing and maintaining those roads on a daily basis. Not following the rules runs the risk of a hold on renewing a vehicle registration due to unpaid work zone fines, and runs the risk of motorists needlessly putting themselves and others in harm's way."
Civil Service Employees Association President Mary E. Sullivan said, "Our union actively encourages drivers to be alert, be aware of their surroundings, and exercise caution when driving in work zones. We all play a role in work zone safety. Too many of our union members have died or suffered serious injuries on the job due to the carelessness of drivers. Together, we share the responsibility to ensure that the men and women who maintain our roads and infrastructure are respected and get home safely to their families each day."
Associated General Contractors of New York State President and CEO Mike Elmendorf said, "The men and women working out there on roadways across New York are doing it for our safety – and every New Yorker owes it to them to keep them safe as they do that important work. They are out there working in often dangerous conditions to make sure we all get home safely to our families. It is the obligation of all motorists to make sure every one of them gets home safely to theirs. New Yorkers need to pay attention, stay focused, slow down and move over in work zones. AGC NYS commends the efforts of our industry, labor and public agency partners for providing critical awareness of work zone safety through National Work Zone Awareness Week and beyond."
The press release stated, “Recognizing and understanding signs leading up to and within a work zone is essential for the safety of all drivers and roadside workers. 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 move over for workers. As construction season continues, maintenance and work crews will continue to be out on the road performing repairs and improvements to ensure roads are safe for motorists. All travelers should be prepared to reduce speeds and to be alert when passing through work zones.”
For more information about National Work Zone Awareness Week, click here.